November 15: Convention Center loses client | Building collapse was avoidable | TIF districts under perform | Clarke pushes for extended LOOP deadline | West Powelton residents fight zoning variance

Happy Friday, Streeters! 

The already struggling Pennsylvania Convention Center lost an important customer. UBM Canon, an international communications firm who held an event at the Convention Center this year, canceled visits scheduled for 2015 and 2017. According to AxisPhilly the company had a bad experience (low attendance and labor hassles) in Philadelphia and will hold its 2015 and 2017 events in New York.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that this summer’s fatal building collapse was avoidable. OSHA cited two contractors in connection with the collapse. Charges include everything from not providing hard hats to workers to removing lateral support walls and failing to do an engineering study before beginning demolition. OSHA has proposed a total of $400,000 in penalties.  

Tax-increment financing (TIF) districts generate less property tax revenue than expected. In light of the recent $33 million TIF district authorized for the proposed W Hotel at 15th and Chestnut streets, PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey analyzed the success of 12 of the city’s 13 TIF districts. The 12 have produced about $20 million less in property tax than projected, over the last six years alone. 

City Council President Darrell Clarke wants to give property owners an extra month to apply for property tax relief. The city will launch the Longtime Owner Occupied Program (LOOP) on Dec. 2. LOOP is designed to lower the property tax bills of people who have lived in their homes for 10 or more years and whose assessment tripled this year. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 residents could qualify for LOOP. Clarke wants to extend the deadline from Jan. 15 to Feb. 17.

Last week a group of West Powelton residents attended a Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) meeting to speak out against a development that would have placed seven single-family homes on a lot zoned for one home. After hearing the community testimony, Planning Commission recommendations and ZBA’s own concerns, the ZBA did not grant the project a variance. 

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