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Proposed zoning change shelved, throwing court settlement into question

6/18/2012 | Real Estate Blog

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia City Council decided to table–after hours of testimony before the Rules Committee– a proposed zoning change that would have allowed a developer to redevelop acres of green space near the Philadelphia International Airport.

That land is apparently owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and the developer has development rights. The developer had planned to build a 722-unit, two story apartment complex, but the project is up in the air after the decision. The proposed zoning change would have switched the area’s zoning from single-family units to multifamily rentals.  

Residents of Eastwick were apparently very pleased that the proposal was tabled. Those living in the area had complained about being left out of the decision-making process and had concerns various issues, including storm-water management, traffic, crime and wildfire.

The decision may affect whether the city is able to acquire 79 acres of the land from the developer as part of a recent court settlement. That settlement involved the city’s agreement to pay $9.6 million and grant a zoning change in return for the developer giving up development rights. The settlement deal, however, is not available without the zoning change.

One of the councilman commented on the proposal that he was uncomfortable with its connection to the settlement, and the fact that he didn’t know about the connection until late in the game.

Development can be a complicated endeavor. Businessman looking to develop real can run into a number of problems that have the potential to stall a project or make it impossible to move forward. Having a legal advocate by one’s side can be a great help.

Source:, “Proposal for apartments near airport slowed down,” Jan Ransom, June 13, 2012