Five years in the making, a new development plan for a six-mile stretch of the central Delaware River was unanimously approved Tuesday by the eight directors of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
Despite objections from a group representing private property owners, the commission adopted the plan for the waterfront from Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia to Allegheny Avenue in Port Richmond.
"This area has languished for too long," said commissioner Joseph Syrnick. "It needs a plan."
But an attorney for James Anderson, a Bucks County businessman who owns 57 acres of waterfront land on the northern end of the central Delaware zone, said the plan will have "a devastating effect" on his client.
Lawyer Neil Sklaroff said the plan, with its waterfront trail and proposal to extend the city's street grid to the waterfront, will bissect land controlled by his client.
"They've split a major property in two," Sklaroff said.
By adopting the plan, the commission will use it to guide future decisions on waterfront land use. It also will be used in a remapping of the zoning for the waterfront.
The plan for the Central Delaware waterfront emerged from a process that began in 2006. Then-Mayor Street commissioned PennPraxis, an arm of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design, to conduct a broad dialogue in the city on what the waterfront should look like.
With unprecedented input from stakeholders as well as neighbors, PennPraxis presented a "civic vision" in 2008 that called for a more accessible waterfront with dense housing, a string of small waterfront parks, street-level shops, restored wetlands, and a riverside recreation trail.
From that, the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., a quasi-city agency, developed the waterfront plan. Last October, all of the nonprofit's directors - including Greenberger - endorsed the plan.
The waterfront plan creates a framework for land use and recommendations for development along the 6.5-mile stretch of the central Delaware. It advocates for a shorter skyline and a pedestrian-oriented street grid extending to the water's edge.
Also envisioned are 10 parks in half-mile intervals from the southern end of South Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia to the northern end in Fishtown.