July 21: Kensington pop-up landfill | Self-gerrymandering in Philly and Cleveland | Awesometown gets LEED Platinum

Ptah Gabrie at The Spirit of the Riverwards looks into the vicious cycle of illegal dumping on the Kensington “mega lots” formerly partly occupied by the Buck Hosiery building, which burned down in a five-alarm fire. The site has become a pop-up landfill for construction debris and household garbage, and Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez tells Gabrie she thinks city agencies started the trend. “At one point the Water Department and PGW were doing some work nearby around the street, so there was some dirt that was placed on the lot at one point,” Quiñones-Sánchez said.

Via Sandy Smith, just in time for the political conventions, Redfin looked at how Republicans and Democrats have “self-gerrymandered” into homogenous partisan clusters in the Cleveland and Philadelphia regions. Republicans are less likely to be renters, and more likely to own large-lot suburban homes, while Democrats are more likely to rent, and own smaller homes closer to the urban core.

Despite the 2012 zoning code and Philadelphia 2035 plan intentionally discouraging front-loading garages as a matter of policy, Jim Kenney’s ZBA appointees keep approving them. Just like Michael Nutter’s did. The latest example from Naked Philly: a variance request for four homes in Pennsport that was rejected last year by Michael Nutter’s ZBA was approved by Kenney’s appointees this year.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s debt burden is unsustainable, and he blames the $450 million annual payment the Turnpike is required to make to PennDOT to fund transit under Act 44. That payment was established when the state was expecting new revenue from the Rendell administration’s proposal to toll I-80, which was rejected by the federal government. 

NKCDC and Post Green Homes’ Awesometown development received LEED Platinum certification, Patrick Clark reports. “The development earned the certification through its utilization of green roofs, triple pane windows, roof terraces, super insulated walls and roofs, Energy Star HVAC, and more modern eco-capabilities.”

AirBnB hired former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to craft their anti-discrimination policy, reports Sarah Jerde. “Airbnb has been dogged by controversy amid reports that some hosts on its platform prevented people of certain races and ethnicities from renting their homes.”

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