Good morning, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news this chilly, flurrying morning:
At City Council’s Taxpayer Fairness Initiative hearing yesterday few new policy ideas emerged to help improve the city’s tax delinquency crisis, reports PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey. Witnesses spoke in favor of bills to overhaul the city’s tax foreclosure system and create a land bank, and the need for greater cooperation and effort from the Department of Revenue when it comes to collections. Others advocated for greater use of conservatorship and municipal sequestration of rental value to pay back taxes.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown’s husband owes more than $4,200 in back taxes on a rental property in Mantua, reports City Paper. Reynolds Brown purchased the property in the 1980s, and eventually transferred it into her husband’s name though her name is on the rental license. Harold Brown works for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. “It’s no secret that I’m in the middle of a divorce, and at the end of that settlement it is my expectation that this property will return to my name,” said Reynolds Brown, who was recently fined for campaign-finance violations by the city Board of Ethics.
The final draft Central District Plan was presented at yesterday's City Planning Commission meeting, recommending public space improvements, better stewardship of City Hall, zoning changes, denser development around transit hubs, reports PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates. The Central District Plan may be viewed online and public comment via on the final draft will be accepted until May 15.
In light of Councilwoman Blackwell’s recent legislation (passed via a veto override) to create a more inclusive – some say burdensome – process for community involvement in the zoning and development process, the Planning Commission was forced to change its rules for Registered Community Organizations. Jared Brey explains the Planning commission’s changes [pdf] in response to Blackwell’s bill, which include greater (and costlier) notification and multiple RCO meeting requirements, and alter the composition of the Civic Design Review Committee. “We’re not very happy with a lot of this,” Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger said.
Archaeologists did not find human remains during a dig at the historic former potter’s field in Germantown where the Philadelphia Housing Authority plans to replace its Queen Lane apartments with townhouses, reports Amy Z. Quinn for PlanPhilly/NewsWorks. The results of the dig will be subject review by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will determine whether or not PHA can proceed with the project as planned.
Liberty Property Trust sold PNC’s operations building on Tinicum Boulevard for $74.4 million to Phoenix-based Cole Real Estate Investments, the Business Journal reports. PNC has another 12 years on its lease at this location. As PhillyDeals notes: The price of $169 per square foot beats recent Center City office sale prices.