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Temple neighborhood may soon be Neighborhood Improvement Zone

3/12/2012 | Real Estate Blog

Last week, City Council President Darrell Clarke proposed the creation of a Neighborhood Improvement District for the Temple University neighborhood in North Philadelphia. The bill was apparently introduced based on longtime complaints that developers have been short-dumping construction debris on the streets and in vacant lots, as well as that students routinely party and make loud noise late into the night.

Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) program was established back in 2009. In these programs, state and local taxes collected by businesses are used to fund economic development projects in the zone. The program is intended to contribute to the development of areas in need of improvement.

The bill includes language that would raise real-estate taxes 10 percent for owners of rental properties and businesses. Controversial language saying that most voting power would go to Temple University and the landlords will not remain, though, according to sources.

Clarke introduced the legislation as a way to increase revenue to help address the cleaning and code enforcement needs of the area. A number of residents, though, oppose the proposal.

African Americans in the neighborhood opposed the proposal for fear that creating the improvement district would mean removing them from the neighborhood. A petition is currently being circulated which claims that if the proposal passes, Temple and the landlords would control the improvement district.

Others oppose the proposal on the grounds that North Philadelphia residents who have lived in the area for decades were left of the decision-making process. They fear the new designation of the neighborhood would leave their interests out of the process.

Others oppose the bill because it will drive up the price of the costs of land and leave the average person unable to afford property.

The plan clearly faces strong opposition at this point. It remains to be seen how Clarke will respond to the feedback.

Source:, “Neighbors worry improvements will only benefit landlords,” Valerie Russ, March 12, 2012.