A hypothetical highrise at 205 Race is the impetus for the proposal of a new "Bridge Approach Area" in the zoning code. Though the project is opposed by the Old City Civic Association, essentially because it is too big. The project is technically illegal, according to current Old City zoning code, but could have easily gotten through variance hearings. Could have, if it weren't for one very prominent billboard.
The billboard in question, owned by Keystone Outdoor Advertising, is currently visible from the Ben Franklin Bridge for about eight seconds. If 205 Race were to go up, it might cut down on the billboard's viewing time. Keystone threatened lawsuits. Because the project would technically be illegal, Keystone had the upper hand.
Therefore, the "Bridge Approach Area" portion of the zoning code was born. Ostensibly, this "area" would "...draw activity to the area surrounding the Race Street Connector to encourage its use so that residents and visitors may re-connect to the waterfront," but realistically, there would be no "Bridge Approach Area" if the 205 Race project didn't need protection against Keystone's lawsuit.
· Will the Billboard Kill New Philly Building? [Philly.com]
· Council Bills Would Amend Zoning for Proposed 205 Race Project, Allow for Larger Curb Cuts [Plan Philly]