Sunday, February 1, 2015

Council moves forward with controversial Point Breeze affordable housing plan

City Council’s Rules Committee approved today a measure sponsored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson that would allow the Redevelopment Authority (PRA) to acquire dozens of properties through eminent domain to build affordable housing.

Council moves forward with controversial Point Breeze affordable housing plan

City Council’s Rules Committee approved today a measure sponsored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson that would allow the Redevelopment Authority (PRA) to acquire dozens of properties through eminent domain to build affordable housing.

The controversial plan was called a “land grab” by developers who said they owned some of the properties the city was set to take. But Johnson and city officials said they want to preserve affordability in parts of Point Breeze, a neighborhood ripe with development.

PRA director Ed Covington said that after speaking with private developers, the city will condemn 28 properties down from 43. Eleven of those properties are city-owned.

Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush told Council that he either owns or is representing developers who still own some of the properties on the city’s condemnation list. Feibush made national headlines recently over a fight with the city for a formerly trash-strewn lot. He asked Council not to approve the bill.

The measure could be approved by Council in two weeks.

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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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