Point Breeze eminent domain moves ahead | more variances for retail? | Police still use typewriters | Germantown trash woes | Native American Museum decays | record Restaurant Week

Good morning, Streeters. It’s GIS Day and we’ll be hanging out with mapmakers at the Free Library and at PennDesign to mark the day.

On Tuesday City Council’s Rules Committee approved the Redevelopment Authority’s controversial plan to use eminent domain in Point Breeze to stimulate affordable housing development, the Daily News reports. The initial plan to condemn 43 properties, in public and private ownership, has been scaled back to 28 but some developers like OCF’s Ori Feibush see the move as a subversion of private development. An online petition against the bill has more than 900 signatures.

Councilman Brian O’Neill wants to amend the zoning code, making it more difficult to open a pet store, ice cream shop, or hardware store along many of the city’s commercial corridors, the Inquirer editorializes. Councilman Brian O’Neill wants to add more than a dozen business types to those required to obtain variances before they open, therefore adding time and expense to the process of opening a business, which could stifle commercial corridor growth.

Even as other areas of Philadelphia Police Department have converted to electronic records and the department is becoming more tech savvy, police officers are still using typewriters to write search warrants and property receipts. In part two of a series about PPD technology upgrades, Technically Philly reports on the 10 years and $1.7 million spent on efforts to digitize warrant and property records, and create new digital systems that would increase transparency and reduce errors.

Litter breeds litter, and Germantown Avenue has a trash problem, reports the Daily News. In Germantown the Streets Department removed wire trashcans on Germantown Avenue “due to misuse,” and has not finished the job of replacing the missing cans with BigBellies. Where there are no cans, the streets are trash strewn. That, neighbors say, sends the message that no one cares and that littering is the norm. UnLitter Us Germantown is working to engage the community to change its behavior, and develop community projects that will encourage people to do their part to improve the neighborhood’s appearance.

Ever wondered about the decaying beauties at the corner of Chestnut and Bank streets in Old City? GroJLart traces the duo’s history from their original uses as the German Consulate and a related import company, through subsequent uses as undergarment factory, a bank note engraving company, federal health offices and clinic, and the Native American Museum. The building was sold in 2006 to an LLC hoping to convert the property into a spa, but not much has happened. Old City Civic Association’s Richard Thom fears that the building is in such dire condition that it could be unsafe. The building is tax-delinquent and has more than 13 L&I violations.

This fall’s Center City Restaurant Week took in 25% more money, reports the Insider. A record 132 restaurants participated, and it was the most successful one since Restaurant Week began in 2003.


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