Sometimes there are news stories that are unquestionably important but—let's face it—aren't necessarily SUPER FUN TIMES. While Lotgate—the battle between Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority—was actually entertaining, it's harder to get the Honey Boo-Boo out of the subsequent events: namely, the Point Breeze "land grab."
So let us break it down for you.
The Philly Redevelopment Authority (PRA—or "prah") has seized a bunch of privately owned vacant lots in Point Breeze—ground zero for The Gentrification Wars of 2012—to reserve space for public housing. That way, longtime Point Breeze residents who can't afford to live in a LEED-certified condo made out of bamboo juice and sunshine might be able to afford to stay in their neighborhood.
Some of the lots, however, belong not to tax-delinquent scumsuckers who refuse to do any weeding but to earnest developers planning happy, affirmative, neighborhood-improving projects. These developers don't trust the PRA to follow through on the affordable housing, which would mean the lots would remain the vacant stinkholes they have been all along.
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson fears the gentrification of the area will leave longtime resident constituents vulnerable, so he's on the side of the PRA. Ori Feibush, King Lotgate, thinks Johnson is buddies with affordable housing developers and is trying to force private development out.
"Where the heck would the money come from to create all this affordable housing?" one might ask. Johnson has an answer, "Allow me to propose a bill in City Council that would permit me to get the money." And then Ori Feibush has his own proposal: "Allow me to post a petition on change.org against your bill."
· Point Breeze Affordable Housing Plan Moves Forward, Drawing Increased Criticism [Next American City]
· PRA On A Land Grab Mission – What's the Goal? [philadeliquency]
· NO to 120755: STOP THE LAND GRAB IN POINT BREEZE [change.org]
· In Point Breeze, Rising Land Values Revive a Plan to Seize Lots [Next American City]