Pay-to-play politics have turned the planning, zoning and development process into an unpredictable maze that is nearly impossible to navigate without hiring a team of lawyers and a political patron, and you have to pay both.
Concerns over the planning, zoning and development process are warranted. These issues don't get the headlines that they should, but they are critical to Philadelphia's future. Philadelphia is building skyscrapers at a rapid pace despite having no coherent master plan. Thousands of vacant lots were produced by Mayor Street's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, but many remain undeveloped as a result of the onerous and confusing zoning process. Small business owners and homeowners are forced to wait months or years longer than they should for basic services.
Our failure to do as dozens of other cities have done in reforming this process is another example of the culture of corruption that has held Philadelphia back for too long.
I will support the Zoning Reform Commission in re-writing 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." This is a great city, and we deserve a government that is committed to real change and meaningful reform.