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City Council consider 50-foot river buffer to protect new construction

11/7/2012 | Real Estate Blog

In the wake of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, the Philadelphia City Council is considering whether there should be limits on development of the shoreline of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. In particular, the council is considering whether to create a 50-foot buffer between the rivers and any new construction.

Among those in favor of the proposal is the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, a spokesman of which said the plan is good science, good urban planning and good policy, since it will protect the water’s edge, ward off pollution, aide storm water management and create and improve habitat. Not all approve the idea, though.

Among those who oppose the plan is Councilman Bobby Henon, who wants to amend the plan so that privately held land where properties are already within the 50-foot buffer would be permitted to expand to either side. The amendment essentially says they would be able to build parallel to the waterway, though not towards it.

Opponents of the amendment say permitting non-conforming structures to impeded river front trails-on which the city has invested millions of dollars-would be a mistake.

Debate on the river buffer will be taken up again in a couple weeks. In the meantime, the impact of Hurricane Sandy may continue to influence how the issue is considered.

As our readers know, development is never simple, and this is a good example of only one type of problem that can come up in the process.

Source: CBS Philadelphia, “City Council Debates Limits On Development On River Shorelines,” Mike Dunn, November 3, 2012