Wednesday, January 28, 2015

After building collapse, Council calls for action, introduces legislation

After yesterday's fatal Center City building collapse, City Council wants answers and introduced legislation to address Philly's vacant land problem.

After building collapse, Council calls for action, introduces legislation

Fire officials inside the remains of the Salvation Army Thirft Store on Thursday morning. Philadelphia fire department and other city services are at the scene of the building collapse on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Several people were injured and killed in this collapse that took place Wednesday morning June 5, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )
Fire officials inside the remains of the Salvation Army Thirft Store on Thursday morning. Philadelphia fire department and other city services are at the scene of the building collapse on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Several people were injured and killed in this collapse that took place Wednesday morning June 5, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

After yesterday's fatal  Center City building collapse, City Council wants answers and introduced legislation to address Philly's vacant land problem.

"When a permit is registered when do we go out and conduct a site inspection?" said Councilwoman Maria Quiones-Sanchez, who has requested a report on the building collapse and may possibly call for hearings on it. "Permits are issued they're given a broad range of time for people to begin work and maybe we need to streamline that to ensure that from permitting to completion at some point in there we are also going out and inspecting."

Council president Darrell Clarke introduced a bill today that would establish a nonutilization tax on longtime vacant property which would be 10 percent of the property's value. He has tried to get the measure through several times before, but yesterday's building collapse which left six people dead and 13 people injured has pushed him to try again. The money collected from that tax would be directed toward the Department of Licenses and Inspection to increase inspections and to ensure that code violations are dealt with promptly.

"Unfortunately given our budgetary challenges that we have on an annual basis, we're never able to have enough inspectors," Clarke said. "We need to be in a position to have the resources to inspect those properties and go out and enforce the code violation that resides with that particular property."

Today on PhillyDailyNews.com: An inforgraphic detailing how the building collapse happened.

22nd & Market: Before and After

Before and after photos of 22nd & Market streets. Grab and slide the Daily News logo to reveal the photos.

(Before photo: Luis Cornejo; after photo & slider: Michele Tranquilli/Daily News)

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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