Philly council overrides Nutter’s veto on medical office zoning

 Councilman Brian O'Neill (Tom MacDOnald/for NewsWorks)

Councilman Brian O'Neill (Tom MacDOnald/for NewsWorks)

Philadelphia City Council has overridden a veto by Mayor Michael Nutter on medical facility development in most of Northeast Philadelphia. That means any new medical offices will need a zoning waiver to open.

Councilman Brian O’Neill said he introduced the bill because the city’s new zoning code creates “a Wild West type” of approach for medical uses. He wants to limit them in the neighborhoods he represents.

“In Northeast Philly, we are inundated with all types of medical practices of doctors, dentists. They come in all sizes and shapes and bring all kinds of traffic,” he said. “Right now, under the new code, there is no distinction between big practices, high-traffic practices, low-traffic practices.”

Although the bill addresses all medical facilities, O’Neill said he believes the majority of medical uses would have no problem receiving a zoning variance.

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“I don’t think anyone is going to turn down a doctor or a dentist in their neighborhood, who isn’t causing too much traffic or too much of an imposition on their community and is an asset,” he said.

The measure gives residents an opportunity to speak out when big volume medical facilities such as a methadone clinic attempt to open near a residential neighborhood.

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