Reporting Mike Dunn
By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lost in the frenzy of this past week’s final 2011 meeting of the City Council was what some consider a monumental achievement: the approval of a top-to-bottom modernization of Philadelphia’s antiquated zoning code.
It was one of those rare instances where local government seemed to actually function well: elected officials back in 2007 agreed the zoning code needed an overhaul, and voters agreed by approving a commission to do the rewrite. Four years later, City Council has now given its unanimous approval to the end result, and the mayor is expected to sign it into law.
Eva Gladstein, executive director of the commission, says this affects every single Philadelphia resident.
“Zoning tells you everything from what can be built next door to you, to how tall your house can be, to whether or not the toy store or the supermarket can be on your commercial corridor, and where there can be factories and every other use in the city of Philadelphia,” Gladstein explains.
Gladstein also says the new zoning rules should accomplish two goals: to lessen need for variances and to produce better public input.
The new code takes effect in eight months, although Gladstein says further tweaking of the language even beyond that is likely.