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Zoning code proposal seeks to increase parking space for residents

11/21/2012 | Real Estate Blog

A controversial bill introduced by Council Brian O’Neill on behalf of Council President Darrell Clarke seeks to address the serious problem of parking shortages in certain neighborhoods of Philadelphia. The bill, which received committee-level approval earlier this month, would require developers to provide parking in some residential and mixed-use areas where they don’t have to under the current code. The bill would also change certain lot sizes.

Clarke, who says he is pro-development, said the bill came out of a weighing of the needs of builders with those of residents. While developers, Clarke said, wish they didn’t have to get approval from anybody, there is a need to address the lack of parking faced by residents.

If the bill passes, it would be the first change to the city’s brand new zoning code, and nearly $2 million would have to be spent to adjust the rules governing development in Philadelphia. Other proposals regarding the code have been made since it was inaugurated, though Clarke’s has been the most debated.

The Philadelphia Planning Commission has recommended that the bill be approved with several amendments, but the commission’s staff has reacted quite negatively to the Council’s various proposals, even going so far as posting a sarcastic p]blog post on its website. The Planning Commission staff is reportedly in talks with Clarke’s office to determine further suggestions for the legislation.

Some developers looking to grow their businesses are in limbo because of the controversy. Hopefully the disagreements can be worked out so the new code remains effective, yet addresses the needs of both builders and residents.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Clarke proposal on parking would change new zoning code,” Holly Otterbein, November 7, 2012.