COMMUNITY GROUPS say it has become a trend for developers to skip neighborhood input by going to a Council member to propose an ordinance rather than seek a zoning variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
"That's a way of saying to community groups: 'Go F yourselves,' " said Richard Thom, chairman of the developments committee of the Old City Civic Association.
Councilman Frank DiCicco recently has introduced bills that would:
* Change the zoning for a parcel next to SugarHouse Casino along the Delaware Avenue waterfront.
* Strike from city maps Bodine Street, a tiny street next to Finnigan's Wake, 3rd and Spring Garden streets, to permit an outdoor liquor-serving area.
* Change zoning to let a building owner - who has cost the city $200,000 in legal fees and reportedly failed to pay $68,000 in fines - put up a wall-wrap sign on a building at 7th and Willow streets in front of the Electric Factory nightclub.
* Yesterday, Council approved DiCicco's bill to change zoning at Broad and South streets for a residential building with commerical zoning on the first floor.
Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, said of the Bodine Street bill:
"No civic association, no neighborhood group would be in favor of taking a public street to do a massive outdoor component to a liquor establishment that's already considered a nuisance."
After a City Planning Commission meeting Tuesday, Robert W. Weidner Jr., an attorney for a bank that owns property next to a lot that SugarHouse Casino wants rezoned to expand, blasted how the city deals with zoning.
The bank's land is one of five adjacent parcels, including the casino, with four zonings.
The northernmost parcel, Penn Treaty Park, is zoned recreational; the parcels in between are zoned either industrial or commercial.
The casino, at the southern end, is zoned Commercial Entertainment District.
"Zoning should be done in some logical manner for this whole area of waterfront property," Weidner said. "Rather, it's being done on a haphazard or piecemeal basis. . . . It's spot-zoning."