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Planning Commission Shoots Down Pennsport AAA Development

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The Philadelphia City Planning Commission put the kibosh on the AAA Auto Service Center proposed for 1601 South Columbus Boulevard, that is until the subsequent lawsuits are filed. It's a complicated case, in part because L&I said the initial permit was issued in error as zoning overlays were about to change to more stringent guidelines restricting auto service on the east side of Columbus Boulevard. AAA said they shouldn't have to pay the price for L&I's mistake and that lawsuits are inevitable. Carl Primavera, AAA's attorney, argued that the single-story structure and its intended use fit in with the surrounding commercial development - those businesses being nearby Home Depot and, what neighbors have dubbed, the "Waterfront Walmart."

While representatives from AAA promised a more "urban experience," those against the project, namely the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Pennsport Civic Association and the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, feared "that a driver-focused business would hamper the city's goals and residents' wishes to ease pedestrian and cyclist traffic, and link walkers and cyclists with the waterfront."

Should AAA be allowed to bring its auto service and insurance business to the waterfront or did the Planning Commission step up and use forward thinking by making access to the Delaware River Trail a priority? We would love to hear your thoughts on this one. — James Jennings
·Planning Commission rejects AAA's waterfront plan [Plan Philly]