Residents push back on proposed Neighborhood Improvement District

North Philly residents and developers packed City Hall Council chambers today to testify on a proposal that would establish a Neighborhood Improvement District near Temple.

The measure came after City Council President Darrell Clarke said he received complaints about trash, Temple students partying into the night and developers dumping construction debris in the area.

Clarke said the District would help pay for additional services including security, streetscaping and cleaning services. Landlords would be asked to pay up to an additional 10 percent fee real-estate tax to fund the district.

During Council’s rules committee hearing, Clarke amended some of the controversial language in the bill that would have given more voting power to Temple and the landlords. Some of the proposed changes include an increased community representation on the board of directors and equal voting power.

Residents feared that the district would allow Temple and developers to take over the area.

“The North Central NID is really nothing more than the Temple Area Property Association taking complete control over our neighborhood,” said Vivian Vanstory, a longtime resident who owns two properties within the proposed district.

But, Clarke assured residents that would not happen and only commercial properties and Temple would pay for the district. Single family owner occupied units would not have to pay.

“We need to deal with some of the activity as it relates to student housing and I think this may be the most appropriate,” Clarke said, adding that if residents vote against it, it will not happen.

There will be another hearing on the district in 45 days.

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