September 10, 2016 |
New Jersey's Supreme Court said Thursday that it would hear a challenge that will decide whether municipalities now must zone for the affordable housing units they did not zone for between 1999 and 2015. The court announced it had accepted an appeal by the Fair Share Housing Center, an advocacy group that is seeking to overturn a July 12 ruling by the Appellate Division. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that municipalities have no obligation to zone for units not created during the nearly 16-year "gap period," when the state failed to devise an acceptable formula for calculating each town's obligation.
September 5, 2016 |
As Catholic Health Care Services chief executive John Wagner often says, building affordable housing is a long process, and you quickly realize you'll never be able to build enough. Yet Wagner keeps trying, and St. John Neumann Place II, at 2627 Mifflin St. in South Philadelphia, is the newest example of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's efforts to try to meet the needs of the area's seniors. The $15 million project broke ground in August on 1.39 acres of the campus of the former St. John Neumann High School.
August 26, 2016
COUNCILMANIC prerogative? Wendy Beetlestone is not a huge fan. Beetlestone - the federal judge who presided over the civil trial of archenemies Ori Feibush (the evil developer!) vs. Kenyatta Johnson (the evil councilman!) - has denied the city's request to overturn the jury's May verdict. The jury, you may recall, awarded $34,000 to Feibush, who complained that Johnson had blocked his purchase of two Point Breeze properties as political payback. Beetlestone's opinion, published Thursday, spells out how Philadelphia's unwritten (and ripe for abuse)
August 25, 2016
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson is a walking, talking contradiction. He says he wants to protect poor residents in his South Philadelphia district from being displaced by gentrification. Yet, in about two dozen instances he aided developers who purchased city-owned properties to build high-priced housing that the poor can't afford. Johnson says he didn't give favorable treatment to the developers, but three contributed to his political campaigns and one built his home. The city's land-purchase policy is to competitively bid properties where there is interest and give discounts to buyers who agree to include affordable housing.
July 30, 2016 |
Lee A. Casper, 90, of Gladwyne, a home builder who leveraged his business skills to bring opportunity and affordable housing to declining neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Baltimore, died Sunday, July 24, of heart failure at Lankenau Hospital. Born in Philadelphia and reared in Newark, N.J., Mr. Casper graduated from Newark's Central High School. He served in the Navy aboard a submarine in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he was a potato and tomato farmer in Clarksburg, N.J. In 1958, he became an owner- partner in John Lecroy & Son, a spice manufacturing company in Camden.
July 13, 2016 |
In a ruling hailed by municipalities and denounced as a victory for "wealthy towns," New Jersey's Appellate Division ruled Monday that cities and townships are not required to zone for affordable housing needs that went unmet between 1999 and 2015. "We hold that the Fair Housing Act does not require a municipality to retroactively calculate a new 'separate and discrete' affordable housing obligation arising during the 'gap period,' " the three-judge panel wrote. Instead, it said, municipalities should use previously established methods for calculating their present and future affordable housing needs through 2025.
June 30, 2016
ISSUE | PHILA. DEVELOPMENT Diversity lost in One Water Street deal I thought the idea behind giving developers a zoning bonus allowing taller buildings in exchange for a certain number of affordable-housing units was to encourage people of various income levels to come in contact with each other. Such a policy would discourage isolated pockets of wealthy and low- and moderate-income families. The deal the city reached with PMC Property Group, builders of the 250-unit One Water Street apartment building on the Delaware waterfront, contributes to just the opposite ("Developer to pay for affordable housing," Saturday)
June 26, 2016 |
Responding to a request from Mayor Kenney, the luxury housing developer that reneged on a commitment to include affordable units at One Water Street has agreed to a settlement that channels $3.75 million into Philadelphia's Housing Trust Fund, according to Karen Guss, an administration spokeswoman. The deal, brokered late this week by what Guss called "senior administration officials," means that the developer, PMC Property Group, will be able to immediately start moving tenants into the sleek, contemporary 16-story apartment house on the Delaware waterfront.
June 19, 2016 |
How should the developer of a luxury apartment complex compensate the city for reneging on an agreement to set aside 25 apartments for low-income Philadelphians? City housing advocates think the only fair solution is for PMC Property Group to pay a penalty to Philadelphia's Housing Trust Fund, to the tune of $5 million, for breaking the agreement, which earned its apartment project a 48-foot height bonus. The developer has other ideas. This week, PMC submitted what is effectively a new zoning application for One Water Street, a 16-story apartment building on the Delaware riverfront, next to the Ben Franklin Bridge.
June 14, 2016
It's disappointing that developer PMC Property Group may be allowed to wiggle out of its agreement to include some less expensive units in its new luxury high-rise apartment building on the Delaware waterfront. The complex on Columbus Boulevard near Callowhill Street is five stories higher than it would be thanks to a provision added to the city zoning code in 2012 to increase affordable housing in gentrifying neighborhoods. PMC agreed to set lower rental rates for 25 of 250 units to become eligible for the zoning exception.