Council to Convene Special Committee to Spring Clean Code and Department Regs

  A new initiative from Council President Darrell Clarke suggests the recent (and not-so-recent) frustration expressed by the business community has generated some attention in City Council.  Continue reading

City Council's Transit-Oriented Development Bill is a Great Start. Here's How to Make It Better.

(Paseo Verde, Philly's first LEED for Neighborhood Development project, near Temple| Halkin Mason Photography) City Councilmembers Blondell Reynolds-Brown and Bill Greenlee introduced City Council's best economic development idea in years last week, and it won't even cost the city any money (except for some Planning Commission staff time.) Continue reading

Council Report Card: Week of February 27th

The Council Report Card is a bit thin this week, since comparatively few bills were introduced last Thursday, and we're dedicating some extra pixels to two of them in separate blog posts. This week Bill Greenlee proposed allowing a topiary of honeysuckles to encroach on the right-of-way in Northern Liberties (for the Flower Show), and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez proposed small fee increases for a wide variety of permits and licenses, which would fund L+I. Continue reading

Council Report Card: Week of February 20th

In which several Councilmembers introduce city lease agreements on behalf of the Kenney administration, and rezone some neighborhoods; Bobby Henon explores whether city animal shelters are up to snuff (they're not); and Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson put a few properties in the Land Bank. Continue reading

City Council Hasn't Passed Electric Charging Station Moratorium, But Agencies Already Acting Like They Did

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer) As we wrote two weeks ago, City Councilmembers Mark Squilla (D-District 1) and David Oh (Republican At-Large) are pushing a code amendment that would place a moratorium on new curbside electric vehicle charging stations. The moratorium passed the Committee on Streets and Services already, but not the full Council. Yet we are hearing that city agencies and the Philadelphia Parking Authority are already enforcing the moratorium even though Council hasn't actually done anything yet, with 12 electric vehicle owners' applications waiting in limbo. Continue reading

Historic Preservation and Air Rights: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

(Image: The recent saga over Toll Brothers' plans to build a residential tower on Jeweler's Row has invigorated Philadelphia's historic preservation movement, and touched off an interesting side debate about the alleged trade-offs between historic preservation and promoting sufficient housing growth. Continue reading

Most Philadelphians Aren't Having a Gentrification Problem

(Photo Credit: Tom Gralish, Philadelphia Inquirer) Mark Dent has a new piece up at Billy Penn looking at the phenomenon of "middle neighborhoods" in Philadelphia--areas marked by neither smoking hot property markets nor deeply entrenched poverty, but who are just trying to hold their ground.  Continue reading

As DA Candidates Race to the Left, Can a Law and Order Message Win Out?

The Democratic field for DA is wide open following Seth Williams's announcement that he won't seek reelection. Everyone assumes the remaining candidates will jockey for the support of the #resistance. Will this race hinge on criminal justice reform? Maybe, but this is still Philadelphia, and these people are still running for DA.   Continue reading

Kenyatta Johnson Becomes 36th Ward Leader, Joining 15 Other Philly Electeds

  (Photo: David Swanson, Philadelphia Inquirer) Earlier this week, 36th ward committeepeople voted in 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson as the new 36th ward leader, replacing Harold James, who said he was stepping down due to health problems.  Continue reading

Council Report Card: Week of February 13th

In which Councilman Kenyatta Johnson greenlights the acquisition 136 acres in Tinicum Township for the PHL International airport expansion along with an interesting energy procurement idea; Councilman Mark Squilla permits some new street vendors in the 1st District; and several Councilmembers call for a hearing on whether the cigarette tax rate might be on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve, and whether something should be done about these drones.  Continue reading