City Council's Committee on the Rules gave preliminary approval today to a measure that alters the zoning code to allow the former Beneficial Bank building to become an upscale billiards hall on Chestnut Street near 12th.

The bill, sponsored by retiring Councilman Frank DiCicco allows for a rooftop addition to be added to the building. The measure would take effect six months after it becomes law –giving the developer Paul Giegerich additional time –afterwards the building will revert to its original zoning. Some residents are against the proposed bill.

The Committee on Law and Government approved a bill that amends the Ethics Code by including life partners, treating them the same as relatives listed in the ethics rules for city workers.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Bill Green on behalf of the Nutter Administration, allows for gifts between life partners. Life partners would have to adhere to rules pertaining to financial interests that could create conflicts of interest for a city employee.

Meanwhile, City Council yesterday gave preliminary approval to a number of measures:

The Committee on Labor and Civil Service approved a bill sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown that would disqualify any city worker found guilty of a sex crime against a minor from collecting a city pension, if the incident is committed in connection to the employee's public office.

The measure was amended following concerns as to whether it would be challenged legally and it now reflects state law.

Finance Director Rob Dubow testified Monday that the Law Department "raised a number of concerns regarding the enforceability of the measure." But some of those concerns were addressed in the amendment, Reynolds Brown said.

The Committee on the Environment approved a measure yesterday sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney that would change the building permit fee for solar energy projects –cutting costs in half–an incentive to increase solar energy projects in the city.