Development Workshop Inc. requests hearing

The friction between the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and a group of commercial real estate developers has surfaced again.

Craig Schelter, executive director of Development Workshop Inc., has filed a request with the city for a public hearing on Central Delaware Waterfront standards endorsed by the Planning Commission when it adopted “plan of development” (POD) regulations for the Central Delaware Riverfront Overlay District in April.

On April 20, following that PCPC meeting, Schelter told PlanPhilly – in no uncertain terms – that he was angry with the approval. “We’re going to appeal,” he said. Schelter said the rules are open to misinterpretation, are too “open-ended” and lack clarity and definitive terms.

While the riverfront overlay is in place, a POD approval will be needed for all properties east of Delaware Avenue or adjacent to the Delaware River. The regulations and submission requirements include proposed uses, details regarding hearings, deadlines, base zoning, density (scale, height, massing, etc.), landscaping, streetscaping and traffic, layout and design, and more.

Schelter, a former executive director of the Planning Commission, in his remarks to the commissioners in April, said, “There are no standards here, just an open-ended list of developer submission requirements” and time frames. He said the five-page document effectively “turns the Planning Commission into the Zoning Board of Adjustment, but without the due process.” He called the regulations a “procedural nightmare.”

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