Following last year’s building collapse, Philly City Council reorganizing oversight

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 Building collapse site at 22nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

Building collapse site at 22nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

In reaction to the 2013 fatal Center City building collapse, Philadelphia City Council is looking to overhaul the departments that oversee zoning, permits and construction.

The proposed amendment to the city charter calls for a new cabinet level department of Planning and Development to oversee planning, zoning, permits, inspections, enforcement and housing.

Council President Darrell Clarke says the consolidation has worked elsewhere. 

“We looked at best practices across the country and we found that actually we are one of the few cities that do not have consolidation of these particular functions,” he said. 

Nancy Winkler, whose daughter Ann Bryan died in the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets is against the move.

“Please do not rush a change of the city charter that doesn’t go far enough to protect public safety,” she testified.  Winkler is the Philadelphia City Treasurer, but gave her opinion as a civilian, not in her official capacity. 

Some of the changes taken up by council seek to codify executive orders issued in September by Mayor Nutter.

The charter amendment was sent to the full council for approval, but changes are expected over the next few months before it comes up for a vote.

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