If the Fishtown/No Libs area makes it easier to open nightclubs (aka bars/restaurants) will it bring back the problems the area had in 1980s and '90s? Some people are saying yes. The discussion was brought on when Councilman Mark Squilla proposed making a change to the zoning code. Currently, bars and restaurants are allowed open or expand without getting a zoning variance, which was required prior to 2012. Therefore, they don't need much neighbor permission to go about their business (they need something fairly easy to get called a "special exception"). The new proposal would mean that the area in which businesses still don't need a variance is going to shrink.
On the other side of the debate, some neighbors think that the bars and restaurants should be allowed to open by-right (no political approval necessary) in an area with so many vacant properties and so many restaurants that want to use them. No hearing has been scheduled for the bill yet as the draft language is still being worked out by Squilla's office. But stay tuned, because the outcome will have huge ramifications for the nightlife economy in Philly's trendiest neighborhoods.
· Bill that would lift nightclub ban to be amended [Plan Philly]