Developer and City Forces Untimely Decision

Press Release & Action Alert – June 1, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Developer and City Forcing Untimely Development Decision on Neighborhood and National Wildlife Refuge supporters

Contact: Debbie Beer
Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition
Telephone Number: 610-955-4098
Email Address:
Website address:

Philadelphia, PA – June 1, 2012

On May 29, 2012, the Eastwick Action Committee (EAC) and the Friends of Heinz Refuge (FOHR) joined forces to create the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition.  The Coalition is united in their opposition to legislation introduced to Philadelphia City Council on May 17, 2012 to change the Philadelphia zoning map for 35 acres of land in Southwest Philadelphia from R-9a single family to R-12 multifamily.  The area in question is in the vicinity of 85th Street, Mario Lanza Boulevard and Lindbergh Boulevard. The Coalition is concerned not only about the 35 acres proposed for rezoning but also the Council bill dated May 24, 2012 permitting the City to acquire 93 acres of contiguous lands (by condemnation if necessary) adjacent to the neighborhood and the Refuge for unspecified uses by the Philadelphia Airport

The rezoning would permit the construction of 722 apartment units and parking for 1034 automobiles.  The adjacent neighborhood is currently experiencing recurrent and widespread flooding causing economic hardship to residents. The proposed development is substantially located within an area mapped by FEMA as floodplain, will be regularly flooded and will likely cause existing flood problems in the neighborhood to worsen. Please see the Eastwick Action Committee position paper linked at the following location for background and source materials.

The development will also share as much as 4000 feet of common boundary with the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. The Refuge is home to over 300 species of rare, threatened and endangered wildlife.  The impacts of the development on the Refuge are of grave concern to a large constituency and the 135,000 people who visit the Refuge annually.  Please see the Friends of Heinz Refuge position paper at for additional background and source materials.

This development proposal and proposed rezoning legislation has been withheld from public notification and review until after the legislation had been introduced. The lack of public process to review City decision making is a new chapter of a story started in the 1950s when the City condemned 2300 acres and displaced 10,000 residents from these lands. Promises have been made but never kept to provide residents and neighbor’s access and input into the development of these lands. There has not been adequate time or opportunity to review alternatives, community effects or environmental Impacts.

Forced & Untimely Development Decision

Consideration of the legislation has been placed on the docket for a June 12th hearing in front of the City Council Rules Committee on the Zoning Bill to rezone the 35 Acres. Public attendance and testimony are permitted. There will be June 13th Hearing on the Property Bill in front of the Property Committee to transfer 93 acres from the Redevelopment Authority to the City of Philadelphia for use by the Philadelphia International Airport.  Public attendance and testimony are permitted. If the bill passes out of committees, the zoning bill will be up for vote by the whole Council.  The earliest date this could happen would be June 21st (the second Thursday after passage out of committee), but this has not been scheduled, yet. There will be opportunity for public comment at that time.

We encourage all who have concerns to contact the sponsor of the legislation, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson at

City Hall, Room 580
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215) 686-3412, (215) 686-3413
FAX: (215) 686-1932

Attendance and testimony at the June 12 and June 13 City Council meetings would be very much appreciated

We also encourage all who have concerns to contact the office of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

We especially encourage all City residents to contact their City Council Representative as well as councilmen at large.

For additional information, please see the documents found at

Or contact Debbie Beer at; 610-955-4098 or

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