Concern about Philadelphia’s Zoning Overhaul

Zoning Overhaul Draws Shawmont Residents’ Questions -  Zoning Code Commission outlines proposed zoning changes for Upper Roxborough area  by Sam Fran Scazuzzo

Excerpts from the story:

‘Fearful of zoning changes that could upset the easily flooded and environmentally sensitive area, Shawmont residents shared concerns with City Planning and Zoning Code Commissions officials Tuesday.

Though many were eased by Zoning Code Commission Executive Director Eva Gladstein’s explanations, the sliding scale potential the code change enables worried others.

 (Civic President Dave Cellini’s) area of concern—and the civic’s in general—is preservation along the river and Green Tree Run.

“We’ve invested years in working to keep this area safe… We just want to preserve the land and optimize the wildlife.”

Gladstein also clarified that setbacks along the river will remain at 50 feet—not the 25 feet mistakenly inserted in the proposed draft.

Additionally, more river areas—but not necessarily all streams and tributaries—will receive similar environmental protections as the Wissahickon Watershed, which places tighter restrictions on development.

Other changes highlighted include:

  • Privately owned area can be zoned open space if an owner wants that.
  • More pedestrian friendly commercial districts are encouraged, which is enhanced by limited automobile-centered facilities.
  • Increasing allowable usage for urban farming to promote community gardens, farmer’s markets and husbandry.’

Note from East33.org’s  Christina Kobland: this steep-sloped watershed is inappropriate for urban farming. Interestingly, those pushing urban farming in this area are often the first to cry foul when development is suggested near their homes, using the loss of wildlife habitat as the reason. Agriculture has led to more destruction of wildlife habitat than any other land use, except for the development of cities and suburbs.

About Christina Kobland

Founder, east33.org; President and Founder, Native Return, LLC
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