Skip to Content

News & Resources

Court overturns zoning variance that permitted day reporting centers for ex-offenders

7/3/2012 | Real Estate Blog

On Tuesday, a zoning variance which would have permitted the building of a day reporting center for ex-offenders in Southwest Philadelphia was recently overturned by a Common Pleas Court judge. The center was to be part of a wider plan on the part of the Nutter administration to reduce the prison population and make services available to those convicted of nonviolent crime. The plan was to have 10 day reporting centers around the city which would offer job training, drug testing, counseling, and temporary housing.

According to the zoning code, the facility would have qualified as a prison, since they would have been within 500 feet of a residential area. Because of this, the developers had to apply for a variance. As is often the case with such projects, however, there was opposition. Many residents in Southwest Philadelphia felt the center would have be like setting up private prisons in their neighborhoods. The variance, at first, was granted, but neighbors and a construction company appealed.

Tuesday’s decision was based on the finding that the decision to grant the variance did not meet the standards required for issuing a variance, including lack of conflict with public interest. In the judge’s mind, the day center would have brought many concerns to the community.

It isn’t clear yet whether the developer will be appealing the decision further.

Appealing a zoning decision in Philadelphia requires knowledge of the zoning code and the process itself. Working with an attorney who has experience in such appeals is important when a large project relies on a favorable decision.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Zoning variance for S.W. Philly ‘day reporting center’ overturned,” Troy Graham, June 28, 2012