Sunday, June 26, 2005

HB 1698 and Philadelphia's Quality of Life

HB 1698, introduced by State Representative Mark Cohen, would repeal the provision in HB 1954 (aka the "Stealth Bill") which narrows the definition of standing for Philly residents to make it harder to even qualify to bring an appeal a zoning decision.
As if appealling a zoning decision wasn't hard enough. I would know.
I was part of an effort to appeal a ZBA decision against a powerful developer (Bart Blatstein) who chose to blow off the Northern Liberties Zoning Committee on one of the city's biggest development projects. The appeal never went to trial, but it did bring Blatstein to the negotiating table, resulting in an agreement with the community. The discussions also led him to scrap a rather ugly design (I called it Disney Italianate) and hire Erdy McHenry, a cutting-edge Philly architecture firm, which came back with a really cool design. This might never have happened if he thought it was possible to argue that the neighborhood didn't have standing to bring the appeal.

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