EASTWICK FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS COALITION (EFNC) position in opposition to the rezoning of 35 acres of land at 86th and Lindbergh Blvd in SW Philadelphia from R-9a single family to R-12 multi-family residential development.
The EASTWICK FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS COALITION recently formed as a community organization concerned with the future of our neighborhood. We were spurred to action due to a development proposal put forth by The Korman Company (Korman), who is requesting rezoning of a 35-acre parcel of green space land, bordering on Lindbergh Boulevard and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, adjacent to our community. At community meetings held on May 1, 15 and 22, 2012, attendees overwhelmingly expressed opposition to the Korman development proposal and engaged in a petition drive stating our position as follows:
We, the residents of Eastwick, unequivocally oppose the development of 722 apartment units with parking for 1034 cars on 35 acres of land in our community (1). We are extremely concerned about the automobile and truck traffic that would be generated by a development of such enormous magnitude. Our neighborhood is currently afflicted with widespread flooding problems, causing financial distress to homeowners (2). The loss of additional green space will only make this problem worse. Further we are very concerned about the future of the entire 128 acre tract bounded by 85th Street, Mario Lanza Boulevard and Lindbergh Boulevard and how development will affect our community.
Following is a brief summary of the proposal presented by Korman developers:
- Korman has rights to acquire and develop this property, under binding agreement with Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority
- Korman is asking for community approval to secure City Council vote to legislatively change the zoning from single family to rental apartments (3).
- Korman has presented a site plan to develop 722 rental apartments, in 51 two-story units, with parking for 1034 cars (1.4 per unit), on 35 acres (1). Potential for 1,500 residents or more.
- Development would occur in 4 phases, with construction starting June 2013, if rezoning is approved.
Following is key information:
- A large portion of the development is located in an area mapped by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) as 100-year floodplain (2).
- The proposal lacks information indicating intentions to manage storm water runoff from roofs and parking lots.
- Will the development cause existing flood problems to get worse?
- Under the terms of the contract, Korman can purchase this property at a price fixed in the late 1950’s.
- Korman will be eligible to receive real estate tax abatement for 10 years – paying no tax on the buildings, but paying minimal tax on the value of the land.
- City services like schools, police, and fire for ~1,500 new residents will be paid for by current City tax revenue.
- Traffic will be a major problem, as construction commences and occupancy increases.
- Recall the history of the city condemning 2,500 acres of land in the 1950’s, forcing about 10,000 residents out of their homes, promising new houses for displaced residents. Korman has had huge profits because of their subsequent contract. (4,5,6,7,8,17)
- Construction may exacerbate existing issues with unstable streets and sinkholes.
- Mayor Nutter’s Green Plan Philadelphia has pledged support for the creation of 500 acres of green space in the city by 2015. (9)
- The City has recently signed an agreement with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to spend $2.0 billion on “green storm water” management. (10)
- The development will have huge impacts on the wildlife and habitat of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. (11)
- Heinz Refuge is a keystone urban refuge in the national system, providing environmental education opportunities to thousands of urban children annually. (12)
- The natural habitat of Heinz Refuge serves as a giant “sponge” to soak up water during storms and flooding. Development of 722 apartments with 1034 parking spaces will reduce the “sponge” effect. (13, 14)
- Will property values decrease after rental units are built?
We therefore oppose without reservation, the rezoning of the entire 128-acre parcel of land bounded by 86th Street, Lindbergh Boulevard, and Mario Lanza Boulevard, in SW Philadelphia, from R9A single-family dwellings to R12 multi-family dwellings (15, 16). Developing property in this area will significantly compromise the health, safety and welfare current residents by making existing and widespread flooding problems worse. Such rezoning would permanently change the character of the neighborhood, and cause economic hardship to residents.
- Korman Site Plan
- FEMA Flood map
- Zoning Bill .pdf
- Philadelphia Daily News “Broken Promise” 4/5/2005
- Wikipedia Eastwick
- Don’t Waste Us: Environmental Justice through Community Participation in Urban Planning .pdf
- Liberal Ends Through Illiberal Means .pdf
- City Paper “Sinking Feeling” cover story 4/26/ 2012 .pdf
- Green 2015
- EPA approves Philly’s $2 billion green stormwater plan
- Heinz NWR
- Heinz NWR environmental education
- USEPA Wetland Sponge
- Philadelphia Water Department Waterways Restoration; wetland creation
- Council Bill 120487
- Council Bill 120487 exhibit A
- Field of Weeds