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Councilman to delay consideration of Philly waterfront-zoning bill

K4 is asking Councilman Mark Squilla to delay work on a bill he introduced that would allow the developer to build higher than waterfront regulations currently permit.

Artist’s rendering of Liberty on the River proposal as seen from northernmost pier.
Artist’s rendering of Liberty on the River proposal as seen from northernmost pier.Read moreBarton Partners

City Councilman Mark Squilla said in an email Monday that he will delay consideration of a bill he introduced that would allow taller buildings than current regulations permit to be constructed along Philadelphia's Delaware River waterfront.

Squilla's decision came shortly after Rockville, Md.-based developer K4 Associates LLC said in a release that it had requested the bill be held.

K4's plan for its 10-tower Liberty on the River development in South Philadelphia is seen as a direct beneficiary of the measure, which had been scheduled to go before Council's Rules Committee on Tuesday.

The bill, introduced last month, would amend the Central Delaware Overlay zoning district to include new "height bonuses."

Leaders of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, a coalition of river-adjacent neighborhood associations, and other critics have assailed Squilla's proposal, saying it runs roughshod over previously negotiated guidelines for waterfront development.

By late afternoon on Monday, about 370 people had posted responses on an online petition, calling on Squilla to withdraw the legislation.

K4's proposed project would be built on 18 acres it acquired in 2015 from Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, in addition to an eight-acre panel — covered partly by the union's meeting hall — that it is negotiating to buy from the labor group.

The developer said in its statement that it plans on working over the summer with neighboring communities and constituent parties to "enhance" the overlay district.