Success at City Council Hearing


Eastwick Hails Success at City Council Hearing on June 12, 2012

The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is pleased to announce that on June 12, 2012, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson tabled the proposed rezoning bill that would’ve given the Korman Company the green light to proceed with constructing 722 rental apartment units on 35 acres of green space in Eastwick, adjacent to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson At Eastwick Hearing

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson wants Korman Residential to ease concerns over its building site that’s partially in a flood zone. Photo courtesy of Philly.com, AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer

Councilman Johnson was persuaded to this action by more than 100 community residents and Heinz Refuge supporters who attended the City Council Rules Committee Hearing at City Hall on June 12, 2012, to express opposition to Bill #120418.  Attendees waited patiently all day to present over 3 hours of testimony, including significant discussion about the lack of community input, flooding and environmental concerns, and linkage between the Korman proposal and a settlement agreement allowing the City to take undeveloped acreage in Eastwick for unspecified use by the Airport.  The Coalition submitted a Petition to Council signed by 404 residents opposed to the Korman proposal to build 722 rental apartment units with 1,034 parking spaces on 35 acres of land.

Over two dozen people testified for the Coalition, including Eastwick homeowners, Sierra Club Philadelphia, Delaware Riverkeeper, Clear Air Council, Friends of Heinz Refuge, Pennsylvania Young Birders, ornithological experts, flooding engineers and more.  At the end of the testimony, Councilman Johnson decided to withdraw the bill to allow for more community input.

This success was the result of many long hours of research, organization and meetings by the coalition, engaging with community residents and Refuge supporters to mobilize behind a clear, concise message, “pull the bill, to allow time for the community to be equitably engaged in the process.”  The attendant community offered compelling, articulate reasons for opposition to the development, including significant flooding concerns, loss of critical wildlife habitat, and lack of community engagement in the project planning process.

Councilman Johnson’s decision to table the rezoning bill provides time for the Coalition to develop a strategy and vision for the future of the Eastwick green space.

The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition, the Friends of Heinz Refuge, and Heinz Refuge manager Gary Stolz extends heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who sat for long hours in City Hall on June 12, expressed firm opposition to the development proposal, and gave verbal testimony outlining concerns. Such unified strength, dedication and determination was responsibile for saving “Tinicum Marsh” 40 years ago, and can save the valuable Eastwick green space under attack now!

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