Philly councilman scraps rezoning measure for Eastwick development
Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson plans to pull a measure that would have allowed hundreds of apartments to be built in the Eastwick section of Philadelphia.
The 722-unit apartment complex proposed by the developer Korman Residential faced stiff opposition from neighbors, including Terry Williams who said he was "ecstatic" when he heard the news.
"The withdrawing of the rezoning bill certainly was a very important step for our community," Williams said. "However, there are a number of issues that Eastwick has to deal with."
Williams and other community members worry more development in the area would exacerbate existing problems with flooding. They packed two City Council meetings to testify against the development that was planned for an area near the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
"The community consistently came out," Johnson said, "and pretty much expressed their opposition to the project. Didn't have any community support there speaking in favor of the project. That's something I had to pay attention to."
A lawyer for Korman said they have not gotten official word that the rezoning bill is off the table.
The parcel is currently zoned for single-family homes, but company officials say that kind of building isn't viable, and they will continue to work with the community to come up with a mutually agreeable development plan.
The city of Philadelphia agreed to back the development in a multimillion-dollar court settlement that gave the city extra land for airport development.
It is unclear what impact the zoning bill recall will have on that settlement.