L&I: Hold on 239 Chestnut demo

License & Inspections has placed the demolition of the building at 239 Chestnut Street on hold so that investigators can work to determine the cause of the fire, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jason Laughlin reports. Investigators were unwilling to commit to that schedule, Laughlin writes, though a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives says demolition would not begin “in the foreseeable future.” Before the wrecking ball can swing, the building needs to be reinforced, so investigators to enter safely.

City Council is working to repeal nine “useless regulations on the city’s books,” WHYY News’ Tom McDonald reports. Passé mandates include requirements for a license to use a police scanner (imagine if the world was without during Eagles mania) and for truck-mounted amusement rides to carry at least $25,000 in insurance. “Industries change,” said Councilman Derek Green. “We have new technology and we have legislation that is antiquated and we need to get rid of.” 

One thing Philadelphians don’t want to get rid of is the Manayunk bike race, which was recently canceled for the second year in the row, WHYY News’ Shai Ben-Yaacov reports. Known under several names over the years, including the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, the First Union Race, the Wachovia Race, and the TD Bank Classic, “the event is not only one of the U.S’s major U.S. cycling races but a chance for the world to rediscover Manayunk once more,” said Destination Schuylkill River’s Kay Sykora. As in 2017, organizers could not find enough sponsors to cover the $1 million cost of the race, leading many Manayunk residents, businesses, and cycling fans to fear the end of the beloved tradition. “It’s a huge disappointment for the cycling community as a whole,” said Greg Camia of Manayunk’s Human Zoom Bicycles.’

Philadelphia is helping set the gold standard in streamlining solar permitting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s SolSmart program.The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michelle Bond reports that while it is “too soon to say if clearing some of the red-tape obstacles will translate a steady surge of new solar energy consumption,” developers and municipalities across the country agree that “generally speaking, shorter is cheaper.” The DOE awarded a gold designation to Philadelphia, one of 187 cities participating in the program, “for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier, and less expensive to go solar.” The city’s Solarize Philly program proudly surpassed its 100-signup goal in November 2017; Catalina Jaramillo wrote a helpful explainer on the program’s  incentives and tax credits, and how the Philadelphia Energy Authority negotiated discounts with installers using four tiers back in September 2017.

PSA: New schedules for SEPTA’s City and Suburban Transit divisions went into effect Sunday and Monday. The transit agency said in a press release Friday that most timetable adjustments are minor and are designed to account for seasonal changes in ridership; changes include added service to Neshaminy Mall on Sundays for Route 58, new routing at Lansdale Station for Bus Route 96 starting mid-March, and service to the Shoppes at Wissinoming, scheduled to open in early March, on Route 73.


Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal