"We do not need the state legislature to tell us we're going to wind up with a casino and not have any say in it," DiCicco said.
City leaders are concerned that state lawmakers are going to restore the state gambling board's power to make that decision.
Who gets to decide has been a simmering issue since the state Supreme Court last summer tossed out the part of the gambling law giving the state Gaming Control Board a say on casino locations, essentially allowing city officials more input.
But since then, some lawmakers and Gov. Rendell have said they want the Gaming Control Board to have the final say on locations. They fear that casino proposals would get bogged down in local zoning disputes.
In the meantime, the city has produced a lengthy report recommending where the casinos should go, something that DiCicco and others point to as evidence that the city can make the right choice.
DiCicco said his ordinance would show leaders in Harrisburg that the city had done its homework.
The ordinance calls for Council to sign off on any proposed development. To win approval, the plan would have to include public open space and have a front, side or rear yard.
Casino buildings would be limited to 30 stories, and no flashing signs could be put up within 150 feet of a residential district. All signs would have to be approved by the Art Commission.
"What we are saying is we want something that's in harmony with our neighborhoods," said DiCicco, who added that the mayor's gambling task force drafted almost all of the proposed ordinance.
City Council is sure to mull and tweak the proposal for a few weeks.
The ordinance comes at a time when Mayor Street is meeting with gambling companies that are vying to build the two city-based casinos mandated in the state legislation authorizing slots gambling in Pennsylvania.
Street is scheduled to meet today with representatives of Ameristar Casinos and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casinos, with more meetings with other companies to come.
Ameristar wants to build a casino in Fishtown along the Delaware River, not far from where Planet Hollywood hopes to build a $380 million casino development called Riverwalk Casino.
According to plans submitted in a bid to the city-controlled Penn's Landing Corp, which owns the land, the casino would feature a river promenade allowing public access to the Delaware River along the length of the development. The interiors would feature plasma screens flashing images of Rocky and Allen Iverson.
The groups of investors include minority business leaders who are politically well-connected, such as Bernard Smalley, who is counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority and sits on the Board of City Trusts; Tom Leonard, who helped Rendell when he ran for mayor; and businessman Willie Johnson.
Contact staff writer John Sullivan at 215-854-2827 or email@example.com.