is the president and CEO
of the Reinvestment Fund,
a community investment group active across
the Mid-Atlantic region
Philadelphia is a city on the move, a place that has seen a remarkable renaissance, particularly in Center City. That rebirth has come despite an antiquated zoning code that practically defies sensible development and neighborhood preservation.
On May 15, Philadelphians have the chance to vote for zoning reform. On Ballot Question No. 6, voters will be asked whether they support creation of an independent, citizen-based Zoning Reform Commission, which will spend a year creating sensible zoning rules that everyone must follow.
The question is: Do we want the city to move forward? Or, like our current zoning code, are we a city stuck 50 years in the past?
Philadelphia's future requires a "yes" vote on zoning reform.
Philadelphia's current zoning code was enacted in 1957. It is nearly an impossible task to navigate all 600 pages of the current code, which present a nightmare of twists and turns that practically dare any developer, public or private, to build a project anywhere in Philadelphia.
By contrast, a "yes" vote on Ballot Question No. 6 provides the opportunity for the city to create a modern code that establishes clear and predictable zoning rules that uniformly preserve neighborhood character while promoting positive growth.
At the Reinvestment Fund, we understand the tensions that often exist between those who favor development and those who live in the neighborhoods where such "progress" will take place, often at the expense of the residents who have lived there for decades. The Reinvestment Fund has become a national leader in financing neighborhood revitalization because we understand the delicate balance that these too-often competing forces represent.
Responsible development and neighborhood preservation can co-exist. It starts with the creation and enforcement of clear, predictable zoning rules that allow all sides the chance to know exactly what to expect before development begins. It creates opportunities for meaningful community input, and promotes informed and smart development decisions.
That's the kind of zoning that Philadelphia needs, and that's what zoning reform is all about.
On May 15, vote for Philadelphia's future. Support zoning reform. Vote "yes" on Ballot Question No. 6.