Communities should be actively engaged at an earlier stage, specifically planning, and work with the city departments to create a comprehensive vision for their neighborhood. . . . The zoning code should then reinforce that vision. At present, we have a zoning code that has led to ad hoc planning on a block-by-block basis. I will let neighborhoods be heard in the planning process and create a fair and predictable set of zoning rules. By creating a system that empowers city departments and neighborhoods to plan in advance, we can streamline internal processes and eliminate the need for expediters.
I support the Next Great City's plan, which calls for clear, predictable rules for development, while preserving neighborhoods. This plan encourages retail development near transit hubs and provides incentives for building such high-performing and environmentally friendly structures as the Comcast building. The city's planning department needs to be strengthened and our zoning code modernized. This will produce what is best for the city and limit variances that may constantly change. Philadelphia can better reach its full potential with a zoning code and planning process that take advantage of the opportunities before us.
As mayor, I will work to make sure that no district councilperson blocks development in his or her district. I will lead the way in overhauling and simplifying our city's zoning code, and I will establish regulations that fit today's development needs, and work to ensure community input in the new zoning regulations, city plans, and individual projects that seek a variance from zoning regulations. I will work to reform the Zoning Board of Adjustments, appointing city planners, architects, and urban-design experts to the board and codifying these requirements into law. And I will work to expand the role of the City Planning Commission in mapping out the future development of our city.
If elected, I will support the Zoning Reform Commission in rewriting the zoning code. I will mandate qualifications such as land-use expertise, urban-engineering expertise, and architectural expertise for serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustments. I will commission and publish citywide parking, traffic, skyscraper and land-use plans; and above all, I will take politics out of the process by listening to the voices of experts, not campaign contributors.
The time has come to take the "For Sale" sign down from City Hall and put up a new one that reads "Open for Business."
I will direct the Planning Commission to lead a broad modernization of our zoning code. . . . I will return the Zoning Board of Adjustment to the limited role of hearing appeals and granting hardship variances, and end its current practice of creating new zoning for every project it reviews. I will charge the Planning Commission and neighborhood organizations with updating citywide and local plans that preserve neighborhood quality, identify opportunities for smart growth, and align future amenities with large-scale development such as waterfront renewal and transportation investments.