Planners: Gallery as 'Times Sq'; PCC hotel; billboards; parks

Philadelphia City Planning Commission's monthly meeting will be Tuesday Nov. 16, 1 pm, upstairs at 1515 Market St. Some highlights:

- A proposal to allow bright flashing signs that would make the neighborhood around investor Ron Rubin/Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust's Gallery shopping mall, Market St East from 7th to 13th, look "almost like Times Square" in New York, says commission director Gary Jastrzab.

The proposal, by city councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenney, is supposed to make the area more attractive to shoppers at night, and raise cash that would be earmarked for "building improvements."

- A proposed parking garage on the lot near the southeast corner of Broad and Arch, to serve the hotel proposed for developer Dennis Maloomian's neighboring building adjoining the newly hugely enlarged Pennsylvania Convention Center.

- Councilman Darrell Clarke's proposal (which planners oppose) to keep Temple students from taking over North Philly's residential Yorktown neighborhood by limiting fraternity houses and other student residences.

- A quick look at Parks and Recreation's PennPraxis-aided "Green 2015 Plan," including 500 acres of proposed new city parks (for example, the DuPont Crescent on the Schuylkill below the University Ave. bridge), plus proposals to break up asphalt schoolyards, which will defray the higher Water Dept. stormwater fees the School District faces.

- A look at City Council bills that would allow billboard owners to move their signs looming over I-95, as PennDOT widens the road, without going through public hearings.

- A proposal limiting farming in Fox Chase, like the one passed for Roxborough last month.

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