July 21: Johnson’s non-non-profit pulls in $10K | “Grave concern” over pop-up gardens | Exciting federal water loan program | Yarnbomber returns | Perfect utility bike competition

Good morning! Here’s the Philly planning and political news we’re reading this Monday morning. What are you seeing out there?

Jason Grant reports that 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s fake non-profit, Peace Not Guns, has accepted $10,280 in donations since 2008. The non-non-profit did not file for 501c3 tax-exempt status. Previously, his chief of staff Christopher Sample originally told Carla Robinson of AxisPhilly: “There are no financials for it at all. We don’t raise any money for it,” before Councilman Johnson later walked it back to “hundreds of dollars” in a statement.

In response to grousing from liquor license owners, four state representatives – including Philly-area Republicans John Taylor and Chuck McIlhinney – penned a letter to the state Liquor Control Board calling Philly’s pop-up beer gardens a matter of “grave concern” and asking LCB to tighten the rules. The grave concern is that vendors, who already own regular liquor licenses, can use cheaper $500 off-premise catering permits to serve alcohol at the pop-ups for a few months at a time, rather than buying a whole new six-figure liquor license for that – a requirement that would likely shut down the pop-ups. 

There is a new federal water infrastructure loan program, modeled after the highly-successful TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan program, called WIFIA which will help local governments finance badly-needed water infrastructure repairs.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections is launching an ad campaign to remind homeowners to get permits for major remodeling jobs. So what jobs do you need a permit for? “Anything that has a structural condition or structural change is going to require a permit,” L+I boss Carlton Williams said, “but certain things like flooring tiling painting all those type of things don’t require a permit. If you are talking about moving a load bearing wall or changing a roof or putting in new windows all the around you need a permit because it effects the safety of the house or structural integrity.” 

“Yarnbombing” artist Ishknits is back in Philly, reports Conrad Benner of the Streets Dept street art blog. She’ll never top the yarnbombing of the Frank Rizzo statue (pictured above) but Benner finds a nice sweater and leggings-class statue at 16th and Vine worth checking out.

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