KOZ bill advances through City Council committee just under a week after introduction

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City Council members hear testimony on the KOZ bill. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

City Council members hear testimony on the KOZ bill. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council shows just how fast legislation can move — if there’s motivation. 

The measure establishes Keystone Opportunity Zones in several city locations, including the old Frankford Arsenal.  The bill got a hearing in less than a week to meet a state deadline, said Councilman Bobby Henon.

“The city needs to pass an ordinance and identify eligible buildings or parcels that fit the criteria for the KOZ to create jobs for the people of the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

Commerce Director Harold Epps admitted the bill was rushed and wound up eliminating some properties officials didn’t have time to research properly.

But the state’s July legislation gave the city little time to respond, and applications to create new zones must be submitted to the commonwealth by Oct. 1.

The goal, Epps said, is to revitalize vacant properties through state incentives.

“These properties include vacant land in Northeast Philadelphia industrial parks, parcels in the Navy Yard, properties in University City and West Philadelphia, along with properties around Callowhill, portions of the former Budd Plant on Allegheny, and properties in American Street in North Philadelphia,” Epps said.

If the bill is approved by the full Council, it will be sent on to the state for KOZ designation.

 

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