Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Gallery Casino Proposal Moves Forward

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission this afternoon voted 4-1 to recommend that City Council approve a zoning change needed for a casino to open at the Gallery at 11th and Market streets in Center City.

Gallery Casino Proposal Moves Forward

A casino proposal for the Gallery took a step closer to reality at the City Planning Commission today.
A casino proposal for the Gallery took a step closer to reality at the City Planning Commission today. CHRIS GARDNER / Associated Press

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission this afternoon voted 4-1 to recommend that City Council approve a zoning change needed for a casino to open at the Gallery at 11th and Market streets in Center City.  The commission acted after hearing several anti-casino activists and Chinatown residents plead for more details from Foxwoods, the casino company that is considering moving to the Gallery from a state-approved location in South Philly.

Mayor Nutter, who appointed the commission members, favors that move.  But some commission members were clearly conflicted about giving the nod to a zoning change with no details offered by Foxwoods.  Commission member Natalia Olson de Savjckyj opposed making the recommendation, saying she wanted the information first.  Commission member Nilda Ruiz offered qualified support, saying she would have liked to have more information.  Also voting for the recommendation were commission members Pat Eiding, Alan Greenberger and Anuj Gupta [sitting in for Managing Director Camille Barnett].

City Commerce Director Andy Altman, who chairs the commission but does not vote, explained to his colleagues and the crowd that the zoning recommendation only relates to zoning at the Gallery.  Foxwoods would need a plan of development approved by the Commission before it could use the new zoning, if it is approved by Council.  That process could take six months, Altman said.  "At the end of the day, it's not a vote for this site," he said. "It's a vote for a process to evaluate this site."

A rare Saturday public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1 to discuss the legislation for the zoning change.  Council may first consider the zoning change at its Nov. 6 meeting and could vote on it at its Nov. 13 meeting.

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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