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Francisville Faces New Zoning Map for 'Workforce Housing'

Map via <a href="http://phlcouncil.com/workforce-housing-opportunity-zones/">PHL City Council</a>
Map via PHL City Council

At yesterday's meeting, the City Planning Commission voted to table a zoning bill that would remap a swath of land in Francisville to allow single-family use and more workforce housing. The area in question is bound by Ridge Avenue, 16th Street, Ogden Street, 15th Street, Poplar Street, Carlisle Street, and Brown Street.

The zoning bill was proposed by Council President Darrell Clarke on January 21. It's part of his efforts to bring more workforce housing to the neighborhood. A representative of his office explained that those who do not qualify for affordable housing, but can't afford the high-end housing going up in the neighborhood would essentially be eligible for workforce housing.

Various residents of Francisville urged the commission to table the bill, stating that they were unaware of the proposal until last Friday. Penelope Childs, executive director of the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation, said, "While we're 100 percent in support of economic diversity and creative vibrancy in this neighborhood, we don't see why this section needs to be rezoned. It is not allowing for proper community process."

An architect also involved with designing a six-parcel development in the mapped area said he was under the assumption that he was working under the original zoning map and was not aware of the proposed changes until Friday.

The planning commission voted to request an extra 45 days until they take action on the bill.

They also approved two zoning variances for separate projects. 1525-27 North American Street, a mixed-use project in South Kensington, and the 3675 Market Street office tower.

In regards to parking with 3675 Market Street, representatives said they had worked out an agreement with the owners of two parking lots on 38th and Filbert to use 34 parking spaces. While this would be temporary, Wexford would be obligated to transfer the spots if they were to develop the parcels.