By Pat Loeb

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Residential development in Center City Philadelphia would get a lot denser, under a bill before City Council this week. It has been in the works for more than a year, but still faces some community opposition.

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The bill covers the city from Spring Garden to Bainbridge, river to river, allowing taller buildings with more units. Sponsor Mark Squilla sees it as a way to encourage growth:

“If we want to bring more businesses into the city of Philadelphia, we need to build the density in our center city area to make that work.”

But for resident Amy Friedlander, her neighborhood — on the western end of South Street– is already dense enough and at the edge of what roads and utilities there can handle. She told council more than 100 of her neighbors want their area exempted:

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“If you pass this bill and allow builders to overbuild in our neighborhood without first having them fund infrastructure replacement and upgrades, you will have blood on your hands.”

“This bill would gut a mostly residential neighborhood that has thrived for over 100 years,” adds committeewoman Barbara Fowler.

The bill, though, has the support of the area’s registered community organizations, who worked with council members for 16 months refining its details, and seems headed for passage.

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