May 11: Wolf says PA hostile to cities | Feibush vs. Johnson | Divine Lorraine pop-up

“The public policy environment in Pennsylvania, and in most places in the United States, is absolutely, positively hostile to cities,” said Governor Tom Wolf, at yesterday’s Keystone Crossroads conference in Harrisburg, citing a litany of policies including hyper-local planning authority, subsidized suburban infrastructure, and the state’s overreliance on local taxes to fund schools. PlanPhilly staff were there, moderating a few of the panel discussions. Here’s a recap for those who couldn’t attend. 

Jared Brey reports from the Feibush vs. Johnson trial in federal court yesterday, and explains the circumstances that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson says led him to deny Ori Feibush’s bid for city properties in Point Breeze. “Between the time that the Cleveland Street properties had gone to bid and the day he received the resolution authorizing their sale, Johnson said the Point Breeze gentrification controversy had become all-consuming. He had decided that he was only going to support vacant-land sales for affordable housing development. Because Feibush didn’t plan on building affordable housing there, he decided not to introduce the resolution, he said. And because of Councilmanic Prerogative, neither did the other 16 members of City Council.”

Pittsburgh’s recent rental registry law is headed to court, reports Rebecca Nuttall, and the decision could have statewide implications. At issue is the city’s ability, under the state Constitution, to charge an administrative fee to landlords and create a registry of rental properties in the city. 

The ZBA approved the conversion of a parking garage on N. Broad Street next to PAFA into a mixed-use building with 101 apartments and ground floor retail. A prior version of the plan, which ZBA rejected, included 15 more apartments and a digital billboard. 

Important waterslide infrastructure news: Slide the City will bring their thousand-foot slip-and-slide to Sedgley Drive near Fairmount Park this summer, says Anna Orso. You’ll be able to ride it for $10. 

The Divine Lorraine is hosting a one-day pop-up shop this afternoon. 

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