Monday, July 6, 2015

Delaware Riverfront Overlay Gets Committee Approval

After almost two years of discussion, Council Wednesday moved forward on a zoning overlay for the Central Delaware riverfront that advocates hope will unlock the area’s unrealized development potential.

Delaware Riverfront Overlay Gets Committee Approval

0 comments

After almost two years of discussion, Council Wednesday moved forward on a zoning overlay for the Central Delaware riverfront that advocates hope will unlock the area’s unrealized development potential.

The overlay, passed unanimously from Council’s Rules Committee, requires active ground level uses along the waterfront and eight “river access streets” from Dickinson Street in the south to Columbia Avenue in the north; requires 40 percent open area for properties larger than 5,000-square-feet on the waterfront; sets minimum and maximum building heights; and establishes parking garage, curb cut and form and design standards.

The overlay, sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla, also gives height and floor area “bonuses” that allow developers to exceed the limits if they provide public art, public space, mixed-income housing, transit improvements or do green construction. Height bonuses also can be earned by providing trails, ground floor retail, and dedicating land for the extension of east-west streets toward the waterfront.

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger said the overlay wasn’t guaranteed to address every development scenario that could arise, “but we need a set of rules to move forward.”

“The market needs to respond to it. The market also needs to adjust to it,” he said. “If it turns out we’re wrong, we’ll be back talking.”

The overlay puts into place components of a Master Plan for the Central Delaware adopted by the Planning Commission in March.

Craig Schelter, executive director of the Development Workshop Inc., urged the committee to hold and make amendments to the bill. Among his concerns, he said the height and floor area bonuses weren’t sufficient, the overlay was “unreasonably large and unwieldy” and the city has “limited public infrastructure funding.”

“Our simple message is that the Central Delaware Overlay continues to be a massive overreach,” he said.

Matt Ruben, chair of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, said the overlay gives the master plan “the teeth it needs” and could “unlock the log jam of stagnation on development.”

“If you believe planning is a legitimate city function … then please support this bill,” he said.

 Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

Inquirer City Hall Staff
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter