PMC submits new zoning application for One Water Street, seeks alternative height bonuses

PMC Property Group has filed a new zoning permit application for One Water Street with the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Rather than providing the 25 reduced-rate units they initially agreed to as a condition for receiving a 48-foot height bonus, or satisfying the affordable housing commitment by paying into the Housing Trust Fund, PMC has chosen to submit a fresh zoning permit application for their nearly-complete building.

The new application cobbles together three other bonuses available under the Central Delaware Overlay’s density bonus system, which together add up to 48 feet: LEED Gold certification (24 feet), 5,000 sq ft of retail space (12 feet), and the inclusion of public art (12 feet.)  

In a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, L&I Commissioner Dave Perri explained that the developer is within their legal rights to submit a new application for the project, but it means they’ll have to go through the entire process again.

“The code allows the developer to change which [bonus] options it will provide so long as the developer applies for and is granted new zoning permits. This is exactly what L&I is requiring of PMC,” he wrote.

Perri confirmed to PlanPhilly that PMC will “have to address every facet of a normal zoning permit,” including presenting once again before the Planning Commission and Civic Design Review.

L&I is withholding One Water Street’s certificate of occupancy until they fulfill their obligations under the current zoning permit, but they lose this leverage if the new over-the-counter permit application is found to be in compliance with the code.

This came as unwelcome news to affordable housing advocates, who had urged PMC to satisfy their affordable housing commitment by contributing $5 million to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

“PMC was granted its density bonus on the condition that they provide affordable units or pay into the Housing Trust Fund,” said Beth McConnell, Policy Director of Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, “They should not be permitted to renege on that commitment in exchange for other incentives that enhance the economic value of their property and do nothing to create housing opportunities for low or moderate income people.”  

PMC did not return an interview request on Friday.


Disclosure: Beth McConnell sits on PlanPhilly’s advisory committee.

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