Jan. 10: Philly’s new Director of Civic Technology | APA awards for PCPC, Interface | Fishtown hotel? | deed theft arrests | endless PHA lawsuit ending

Good morning, Streeters. Enjoy today’s nice weather, because tomorrow brings rain. Here’s your Thursday am Buzz:

Tim Wisniewski is has been named the city’s first ever Director of Civic Technology, Technically Philly reported yesterday. In his new role Wisniewski will “work with the civic hacking community to put the city’s open data to practical use,” and work with city agencies on new technology initiatives to make the workings of municipal government more efficient. (Oh, is that all?) As a civic hacker himself, Wisniewski created TextBlast, PhillyAddress, and AnalyzetheVote

The American Planning Association is awarding Philadelphia a National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice for its work to create a new comprehensive plan for the city, reform and update the outdated zoning code, and the Citizen’s Planning Institute. Congrats to the Planning Commission, Zoning Code Commission, and all of the individuals who participated in these processes. Now let’s just hope the judges don’t revoke the award based on the violence City Council has been doing to the new zoning code. In related, APA awards news Philly’s Interface Studio won the first Emerging Planning and Design Firm award.

What if Stephen Starr built a boutique hotel in Fishtown? Say, maybe, in the vacant Arctic Storage warehouse on Frankford next to Frankford Hall and Fette Sau? Naked Philly gets thinking about the possibility.

Four men, including a former police commissioner’s son, were charged in a house-stealing scheme involving 22 properties, mostly in South Philadelphia, reports the Inquirer. The men filed fraudulent deeds with the city to transfer vacant houses, then selling the properties to other people. The District Attorney’s Office conducted a three-year investigation to trace the thefts.

The 15-year long lawsuit over PHA subsidies looks like it could finally end soon, reports the Inquirer. Tenants brought the lawsuit arguing that they did not receive accurate home-heating subsidies as natural gas rates increased. Late last year the parties reached a preliminary agreement under which PHA would set aside $2.65 million to settle tenant claims and PHA will cover $730,000 in the plaintiffs’ legal fees to Community Legal Services.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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