Morning Headlines: City Council Proposes Bills on Housing Affordability and Rezoning

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

City Council was back in session yesterday, and Jared Brey at PlanPhilly has the details on bills introduced by Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Darrell Clarke.

Johnson’s bill is designed to extend the city’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) in order to provide access to owners who live in government-subsidized housing. As it stands now, LOOP only includes residents who have owned their homes for at least 10 years and whose income doesn’t exceed 150 percent of the Area Median Income.

LOOP prevents qualified residents’ tax bills from increasing by more than 300 percent (300 percent!) in a year. Residents who already benefit from a tax abatement are excluded from the program, meaning that under the current rules, homeowners in subsidized housing can’t qualify. Johnson explained the plan to amend LOOP to Brey:

“Right now, individuals who live in affordable housing—obviously, they don’t have a certain amount of income, their taxes may have tripled, and currently they don’t qualify for the tax relief under LOOP because they have had some type of abatement in the past. But also, they’re in some type of a catch 22, because they can’t sell their homes because of a deed restriction, so the legislation that we introduced today will allow them to have the opportunity to participate in LOOP.”

Squilla and Clarke introduced bills related to rezoning efforts, neither of which were entirely surprising. Squilla wants to rezone a tiny part of Society Hill to allow commercial mixed-use and Clarke’s bill rezones neighborhoods west of Temple in exactly the way the Planning Commission predicted months ago.

All of which might explain why Claudia Vargas called Council’s agenda “tepid” in yesterday’s Inquirer.

New bills focus on housing affordability, zoning remapping [PlanPhilly]
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Tale of the Tape: Cheesesteak at Jimmy G’s

Jimmy G's Steaks next to the Divine Lorraine.

Jimmy G’s Steaks next to the Divine Lorraine.

Jimmy G’s is a relative newcomer to Philadelphia’s cheesesteak scene, opening in 2013. The location sits below the Divine Lorraine where Broad Street intersects Ridge Avenue. Though the building that houses Jimmy G’s is a large corner property, the cheesesteaks are ordered at a window similar to Pat’s or Geno’s in South Philadelphia. And this Broad Street cheesesteak place also only offers outdoor seating in the lot next to the cheesesteak stand. Jimmy G’s offers roast pork, roast beef, chicken steaks and French fries in addition to cheesesteaks, but on a splendid summer afternoon, we were hankering for a cheesesteak.

Jimmy G’s offers the option of chopped versus slab steaks. We tried one of each.

Keep reading the Tail of the Tape »

North Philly Residents Chase Down Driver of Cadillac That Hit Bus

Residents of North Philadelphia chased down the driver of a Cadillac that had hit a CCT bus, causing it to overturn. The driver has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

According to witnesses, the driver ran a red light at Sixth and Cambria, slamming into the bus. Five were sent to area hospitals after the paratransit bus overturned.

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Morning Headlines: Strawberry Mansion Building Collapse Leaves One Injured

Philadelphia Building Collapse

Last summer’s building collapse at 22nd and Market.

An operational database of L&I complaints/incidents will be up and running by late 2015 — hopefully. Until then, building complaints and collapse incidents get public notice only in news accounts, like those about the building collapse in Strawberry Mansion on Monday.

The Daily News’ William Bender estimates it’s the fifth collapse in the past month. The building, which was cleaned and sealed by L & I in 2006, had been reported several times by local resident Mary Felder to no avail.

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Temple Gets a New Bar with a Second Floor Study

masters-logo

Temple University’s campus will get a new bar this spring when Masters Bar and Restaurant opens at 15th and Oxford Streets. The Temple News has more on the bar that is owned by G Lounge alum, Waylon Nelson and managed by John Bryne. The most interesting part might be the plans for the second floor.

Masters’ two-floor layout will house the main bar area on the first floor, and the owners hope to create a study-friendly atmosphere on the second floor for students looking to grab a drink or a bite to eat and get some work finished in the middle of the day. Master’s will offer free Wi-Fi on the second floor as well.

At night that second floor will become much more of a nightclub, complete with a dance floor.

New Bar plans to open on 15th and Oxford streets [Temple News]
Masters Bar and Restaurant
[Foobooz]

Morning Headlines: It’s Cold Outside, But Inside Shop Rite, There’s Dancing in the Aisles

shop rite

Photo by Maria Pouchnikova for Axis Philly

There were some who mourned the closure of the Tasty Baking factor in North Philadelphia, and wondered about the viability of Bakers Square, the shopping center that took its place. And though it took a long time to materialize, as these things do, the development has brought real meaning of a kind strip malls don’t typically provide.

The anchor supermarket Shop Rite, writes Natalie Pompilio for Axis Philly, is a purveyor of high-quality food in what used to be a food desert on the boundaries of four neighborhoods: Allegheny West, East Falls, Nicetown-Tioga and Hunting Park. Before the store opened, the nearest supermarket was two miles away. Two miles.

The options people did have were terrible. Says employee Tyrone Page Jr.: “The fruit was hot, the stuff was bad. They say how inner city children are obese. But what are they going to eat? All they have are chips and Chinese food.”

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Zillow’s Very Racist Reason for You to Move to Philly

Update (2:15 p.m.) A Zillow representative has called to inform me the website has taken the photo down. Better late than never!

Original post

Real estate blog Zillow recently published a list called “Ten Reasons to Move to Philadelphia.” Rocky Balboa, cheesesteaks: The list has all the hallmarks of a usual gloss over Philly. Plus a little casual racism tossed in.

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Penn Study: Philly Bodegas Are Slowly Killing Us

PennDesign professor Amy Hillier has a study out today that documents a large volume of ads for sugary drinks and cigarettes in the corner stores and grocery stores of…guess which Philly neighborhoods.

The report, released today, found a disproportionate concentration of “unhealthy” ads in low-income neighborhoods and at places that participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program—sometimes called food stamps…Past research — also from Hillier ― shows that Philadelphia probably has more tobacco and sugary drink ads, at a higher density, than other cities.

As Newsworks notes, the city passed a law in 2012 deemed that no more than 20% of a store’s window/glass space can be used for advertising. As you might imagine, there’s been “little enforcement.”

[Newsworks]

Three Dudes Dress Up as Utility Workers, Terrorize Philly Couple

Well this is mildly terrifying. Three guys posing as utility workers, wearing bright green t-shirts and red and orange caps, allegedly stormed into and burglarized the home of a North Philly couple. But not before doing this:

“And by terrorize, I mean they actually went in there, they had flex cuffs, they tied both their hands and their ankles, and started pistol whipping them. They were all armed – they had guns – and they actually started pistol whipping them,” explained Philadelphia police Captain George Fuchs.

Incidentally, a PECO robot left me an “urgent” message on my cell phone this morning. But was it really PECO? I think I’ve found my reason not to find out. [6 ABC]

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