Friday, August 29, 2014
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City Council's decision on zoning bills will shape neighborhood commercial corridors

It took four years to create the city’s new zoning code and less than four months for City Council members to start picking it apart.

City Council's decision on zoning bills will shape neighborhood commercial corridors

It took four years to create the city’s new zoning code and less than four months for City Council members to start picking it apart.

Council will return Thursday morning to move on a set of bills that will impact neighborhood commercial corridors.

“For me it’s very disrespectful that we engaged in a four year process and now we attempt to build a whole new code section in a matter of a month,” said Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who was referring to two bills sponsored by Councilman Brian O’Neill that would revert the new zoning code to back to the old code by limiting what businesses are permitted on neighborhood shopping strips.

Council’s Committee on Rules will meet in the morning to either approve or deny O’Neill’s proposals and as a result of a pending ordinance, the bills would go into effect immediately said Quinones-Sanchez.

The bills would restrict certain uses on neighborhood commercial corridors like personal care homes, animal services and community gardens and requires zoning board approval or a council ordinance for other businesses like a deli, ice cream parlor or art studio and a transit station –just as it did under the old zoning code.

O’Neill has said he is trying to preserve the character of neighborhoods. The bill was held in Committee last week after several Council members raised concerns. O’Neill was working to make amendments to the bill Wednesday, but said he was unsure what the new changes would be.

The Nutter administration strongly opposes the proposals and has said it would create additional hurdles for small businesses and costly delays.

“I do not want to be involved in every single bit of discussion about an ice cream shop or a deli,” said Quinones-Sanchez. “I want to encourage it. My concern is you rewrite a code in a month and you don’t look at what the unintended consequences are.”

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@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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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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