By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was neighbor versus neighbor in Philadelphia City Council today, as a committee approved a controversial zoning change for the Norris Square section of North Philadelphia.
And one of those neighbors was the City Council member who represents that district.
Seventh District councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sanchez (top photo) said she pushed for the zoning change to prevent older buildings in the area (bounded by 2nd, Front, York, and Berks Streets) from being converted from single-family to multi-family dwellings.
But resident Diana Quiñones (below right, no relation) was among those telling the Council committee that Councilwoman Quiñones Sanchez only wants this because she lives across the street.
“The councilwoman has not imposed any plans in other neighborhoods that are part of her district — only in the Norris Square area,” she said.
For her part, Quiñones Sanchez denies that she pushed the zoning change for personal reasons.
“This is one of those neighborhoods that we want to protect,” she said.
Opponents said Quiñones Sanchez was specifically trying to block the Norris Square Civic Association from building a 15-unit housing complex at the site of a now-demolished church.
Association officials, though, said they have already been granted city permits for the project, allowing it to go even if the zoning change is approved by the full Council and the mayor.