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City Council Overrides Nutter’s Veto of Northern Liberties Bar Balconies

(Philadelphia city councilman Mark Squilla.  File image from City of Phila. TV)

(Philadelphia city councilman Mark Squilla. File image from City of Phila. TV)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council today opened its fall session with a quick slap to Mayor Michael Nutter.  The lawmakers overrode a Nutter veto involving a dispute in Northern Liberties over the possible expansion of a prominent bar.

The legislation would allow Finnigan’s Wake, at 3rd and Spring Garden Streets, to add second-floor balconies that would jut out over the sidewalk.

But Mayor Nutter vetoed the bill, saying it would amount to a public right-of-way being devoted to private use (see related story).

Today, however, City Council by a 17-0 vote overrode the veto and the plan becomes law.

First District Councilman Mark Squilla, whose district includes Finnigan’s Wake, said the key issue was allowing district councilmembers to have final say.

“It has more to do with setting the precedent than anything to do with the subject matter,” Squilla (top photo) said.

Matt Ruben of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association was disappointed but not surprised by the vote.

“I understand this principle of councilmanic prerogative,” Ruben said afterward.  “But Council has to understand that the vast majority of people in our community don’t care about that, and don’t think that it’s more important than the actual issue at stake here.  So there’s certainly a lot of anger and disappointment in the community.”

Squilla vows that the Finnigan’s Wake expansion won’t move forward until the owners reach agreement with neighbors who object to the plan.

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