OPPONENTS of a Neighborhood Improvement District for the Callowhill area claim to have the support of enough property owners to kill it.
Opponents of the proposed Callowhill Reading Viaduct Neighborhood Improvement District had 45 days after City Council's second public hearing Oct. 27 to submit letters of opposition to the chief clerk's office.
State law allows cities to authorize NIDs, which require an additional property-tax assessment to pay for improvements such as street cleaning or additional lighting.
The law also says that letters of opposition from 51 percent of the property owners can quash the NID.
The 45-day period ended Sunday, opponents said.
They believe that Chief Clerk Michael Decker may be preparing to tell City Council the results of the NID challenges before Council's last meeting of the year tomorrow.
"We collected 315 letters of objection to the NID," said Philip Browndeis, an activist against the NID, which is proposed for an area roughly bound by Vine and Spring Garden and 8th and Broad streets.
Browndeis said 644 taxable properties are in the boundaries of the NID with an assessed value of more than $40 million.
"The owners of 57 percent of taxable assessed property worth $22,759,776 filed letters of opposition," Browndeis said.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that we won."
But Gary Reuben, co-owner of the Wolf Building at 12th and Callowhill streets and a supporter of the NID, said he also is optimistic.
"Our neighborhood is poised to really make dramatic leaps forward and . . . [the NID] will help us advance to the next level," Reuben said.
"Nobody wants to pay additional taxes, but this is a tax where we can determine how to allocate the funds raised by the tax as we see fit."
The proposed NID created a rift among neighbors in Callowhill and Chinatown North.
The original bill specified that one goal was to help develop a Reading Viaduct Park above the abandoned elevated Reading Railroad trestle that crisscrosses the neighborhoods from Callowhill Street to just north of Spring Garden.
That language was later removed from the bill.