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Council passes flurry of bills before holiday break

UPDATE: After labor representatives and developers reached a labor peace agreement, Council approved the creation of a TIF district to build two hotels at 15th and Chestnut streets. The vote was 15-1, with Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. dissenting.

ORIGINAL STORY: City Council, in its last session before a five-week vacation, is taking a half-hour recess right now as Council President Darrell Clarke works out an agreement between union representatives and developers hoping to build two hotels at 15th and Chestnut streets with the help of a Tax Increment Financing district.

Several Council members said they won't vote for the TIF if there isn't a labor peace agreement. Both Clarke and Mayor Nutter support the measure, which would amount to a $33 million tax break for the builders.

But before the recess, Council passed a flurry of noteworthy bills:

- Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez has finally got her land bank. The bill passed 15-0.

- Councilman David Oh's proposal to end the city's "resign to run" rule passed 15-0, enough votes to override a potential veto from Mayor Nutter. The measure will need voter approval and will likely be on the ballot in the May primary.

- Council President Darrell Clarke's measure to extend the deadline for residents to apply for the city's new Longtime Owner Occupants Program, or "gentrification relief" property tax break, passed 15-0.

- Clarke also called up his bill to establish a new board that will set water rates for Philadelphia residents. Currently, the water commissioner sets the rate with input from a public advocate. The measure passed 15-0.