February 19, 2013
GOV. CORBETT was wise to step back from the threat he made to tie any increase in state aid for public schools to the Legislature passing the pension reforms he is seeking. That line in the sand was drawn by the governor and his top aides before he presented his budget. Last week, the governor erased that line. He said he wouldn't presume to tell the Legislature what to do. His budget, Corbett said, is "now over in their camp. . . . We've made our proposal, now they get to massage it. " The ultimate solution, though, is going to require more than a massage.
February 15, 2013
Philadelphia's Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a developer's plans Wednesday to raze three buildings at the southeast corner of 15th and Walnut Streets and erect a glass, three-story building that will include the city's first Cheesecake Factory restaurant. Lawyer Carl Primavera said demolition should begin within 30 days. Construction could take 15 months, so the restaurant is expected to open by fall 2014. The restaurant is planned for the second floor, with an entrance on Walnut.
February 4, 2013 |
Tom and Rita Alessio found out the hard way that adding a "mother-in-law suite" to one's home is a no-no in Cherry Hill. They built the addition in 2007 so their grown daughter, Bernadette, could comfortably live under their roof. Now the Alessios, who are in their 90s, want to sell their home in the township's Kingston section. The snag: The single-story backyard extension for which they obtained municipal approvals is considered illegal because it has a full kitchen. Prospective buyer Dorothy Leafey, 61, wants the kitchen so she can live independently; her son, John, 38, would reside in the original portion of the house.
January 25, 2013 |
ON CITY COUNCIL'S first day in session of the new year, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell successfully led a charge to override Mayor Nutter's veto of a controversial bill that amends the five-month-old zoning code to give more power to the neighbors of development projects. The bill requires registered community organizations (RCO) and zoning applicants to provide notice to each neighbor within one block of a project and allows for multiple mandatory meetings with RCOs instead of just one. It also expands the civic design-review committee that was established to weigh in on major development projects to include a Council member.
January 23, 2013 |
In a victory for Philadelphia's community of growers, City Councilman Brian J. O'Neill has backed off on a proposed change to the city's zoning code that would have made it harder for urban farmers and gardeners to operate. In an e-mail sent Tuesday, O'Neill said that after discussing the matter with several Council members, he decided to amend a bill that would have required community gardens and farms to get permission from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to operate in mixed-use commercial areas.
January 10, 2013
HEY, "FAMILY GUY" Peter Griffin: Ditch those weight-loss resolutions - being a Fatty Fat Fatty may not be so bad after all. According to a study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who were overweight, defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9, were less likely to die prematurely than people of normal weight (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9). I scratched my head and laughed when I read this one. Here's the thing, folks: This report was about death rates, which aren't the same as life expectancy or longevity.
December 17, 2012
Philadelphia finally gets a modern zoning code with more reasonable rules for developers and residents alike, and here comes City Council trying to take the town back to the past. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell is pushing legislation that would allow Council's 10 district members to decide how many meetings a developer must have with community groups to get residents' input on a project. While not empowering communities any more than they already are under the new code, Blackwell's bill would break a negotiated promise to developers to limit the number of required meetings because they are expensive.
December 14, 2012 |
IT TOOK FOUR years and $2 million to create the city's new zoning code, and less than four months for City Council to start picking it apart. A controversial bill sponsored by Councilman Brian O'Neill that would limit the types of businesses permitted on neighborhood shopping strips eked through Council's Rules Committee on Thursday on a 4-3 vote. "I'm not trying to gut the zoning code. I'm trying to improve it," said O'Neill. Originally, the bill would have reverted back to the old code by restricting certain uses such as personal-care homes, animal services and community gardens.
December 13, 2012 |
The Zoning Code Commission - created by the will of the voters - spent four years debating, dissecting, and ultimately rewriting the city's rule book for building. The product of all that toil - a slimmer, more modern code that Mayor Nutter hailed Wednesday as "a major achievement for the city" - has been law for less than four months. And already, Council members are exercising their right - their councilmanic privilege - to seek changes minor and major. They are doing so despite the fact that four Council members served on the commission and every district member had at least one representative on it. That has caused something of an uproar with many members of the commission, which included lawyers, architects, and real estate experts.