Mayor Nutter Signs Zoning Code

The first comprehensive zoning code reform in 50 years

Philadelphia, December 22, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed legislation that comprehensively rewrites and modernizes Philadelphia’s zoning code for the first time in fifty years. The four-year code rewrite process included 50 public meetings of the Zoning Code Commission (ZCC); two public hearings in City Council chambers; 36 community-based meetings; seven Stakeholder X-Change meetings; two public meetings to discuss why the Commission adopted, rejected, or modified a group’s proposal; interviews with 125 professional zoning code users and surveys of nearly 2,000 individuals on components of the proposed new zoning code.

The Zoning Code, which was passed by City Council unanimously, codifies the City’s development regulations and sets expectations regarding land use. In February 2007, City Council unanimously approved a resolution proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to create the Zoning Code Commission, and providing for the submission of the amendment to the voters of Philadelphia. The measure was overwhelmingly approved by voters, with 80 percent of citizens voting in favor of reforming the City’s Zoning Code.
“I am delighted to sign this once-in-a-generation legislation that makes Philadelphia more attractive to developers, promotes growth, and brings our zoning code into the 21st century,” said Mayor Nutter. “Good planning is our best way to preserve the past and to anticipate the future. This modern code will help Philadelphia, in the years to come, to ensure healthy, sustainable development that protects our neighborhoods and grows our city.”

The new zoning code includes changes to the City’s development regulations and approval procedures such as:
• Making the zoning code more user-friendly;
• Reduced number of zoning classifications;
• Incorporation of a civic design review process; and
• Establishing the role of citizens in the zoning approval process.

In June 2008, Mayor Nutter offered his vision for planning in Philadelphia in the years to come. He returned the Philadelphia City Planning Commission as the authority for broad planning and development-related decisions, established the Design Review Advisory Board to provide guidance to the Planning Commission when evaluating aesthetics, form and community context for proposed projects, placed sustainability as a central factor in evaluating development proposals, and the directed the ZCC to complete the first comprehensive code reform in 35 years. Since then there has been much progress:
• The Planning Commission has adopted the Citywide Vision component of the Philadelphia2035 Comprehensive Plan and initiated the first two of 18 district plans;
• Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan has been released and will reach its midway review in 2012;
• The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) is currently undergoing a city-wide property reassessment process; and
• In 2010, the Planning Commission established the Citizens Planning Institute (CPI), with funding from the William Penn Foundation and Office of Housing and Community Development, to educate Philadelphia residents to become “citizen planners” in their neighborhoods and communities. Since then, 90 Philadelphians have graduated.

“Our new code will help to attract investment to Philadelphia, and will also give our communities an organized means for their thoughts, concerns and input to be considered in the planning process,” said Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger. “This transformative code will prevent many of the road blocks that currently inhibit growth and will make Philadelphia’s development and planning more coherent, consistent and predictable in the future.”

Eva Gladstein, Executive Director of the ZCC, added, “The newly reformed zoning code will be a tool that all Philadelphians can understand and use. The ZCC received tremendous and valuable feedback from citizens that drove this process and is reflected in the final code. The engagement of Philadelphians throughout this process contributed greatly to its success.”

Mayor Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announce $10 Million TIGER Grant for Philadelphia

Philadelphia, December 15, 2011 –Mayor Michael A. Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler announced that Philadelphia will receive a $10 million TIGER grant. This money will be used for the IMPaCT Philadelphia Project—Improving Mobility for Pedestrians, Cars and Transit. The project’s goals are to reduce congestion for transit and cars as well as improve reliability along capacity constrained arterials in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. It will also provide benefits in the form of reduced vehicle emissions and reduced fuel consumption.

“I am excited and thankful that the Secretary LaHood and the Obama Administration have granted Philadelphia $10 million to invest in its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Nutter. “The money for these upgrades will improve the commutes for 92,000 drivers, transit riders and pedestrians. Reinvesting in and maintaining our infrastructure is key to improving Philadelphia. The Administration understands that cities and municipalities cannot wait for Congress to get the job done.”

Secretary LaHood said, “The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future. That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow.”

IMPaCT Philadelphia is a cooperative effort between the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia Streets Department, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Improvements will take place along transit corridors in Northeast Philadelphia and West Philadelphia.

“We have a fabulous team of partners who over the past few years has successfully brought tens of millions of dollars of competitive grant funds to Philadelphia. Today is one more win for Philly.”

The project will upgrade nearly 100 existing traffic controllers to solid state controllers and connect them through fiber-optic cable. It will also provide infrastructure for the transit signal prioritization, which will extend the green light when a bus or trolley is detected. Other intersection improvements include ADA ramp upgrades, pedestrian countdown signals and improvements in safety and access for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact. Projects are chosen for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections. The Department also gives priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity.

The continuing demand for TIGER grants highlights the need for further investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure that could be provided by President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The American Jobs Act would provide $50 billion to improve 150,000 miles of road, replace 4,000 miles of track, and restore 150 miles of runways, creating jobs for American workers and building a safer, more efficient transportation network. It would also provide $10 billion for the creation of a bipartisan National Infrastructure bank.

Mayor Nutter Announces Carton Recycling

Philadelphia, December 14, 2011 –Mayor Michael A. Nutter, the Philadelphia Streets Department and the Carton Council announced today that food and beverage cartons are now recyclable as a part of the City’s residential curbside recycling program. With this new service, nearly all household containers used by residents are now recyclable.

The City is bringing carton recycling to its residents in a public private partnership with the Carton Council, a group of carton manufacturers united to deliver long term collaborative solutions in order to divert valuable cartons from the landfill. Philadelphia’s recycling diversion rate, the amount of materials diverted from the waste stream, currently stands at nearly 20 percent, reaching rates of more than 25 percent in some neighborhoods of the city.

“Philadelphia is committed to becoming the greenest city in America, and our recycling program is a leading component in this effort,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are proud to partner with the Carton Council to bring recycling innovation to our residents. This collaboration shows what can happen when government and companies work to create successful public-private partnerships. I am proud to be the mayor of a city with individuals and organizations that are dedicated to creating clean and green neighborhoods.”

Beginning immediately, residential households can place all empty, clean and dry food and beverage cartons in their recycling bins. Commonly used carton containers include milk and juice cartons, along with soup and broth, soy milk, eggnog and wine cartons.

The addition of cartons to the curbside recycling program will enable residents to earn more Philadelphia Recycling Rewards points and properly dispose of commonly used holiday materials.

“Adding cartons to your recycling bin is a great way to earn more Recycling Rewards points, which can be redeemed during the holiday season to purchase gifts for your friends and family,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena I. W. Tolson. “Also during this time of year, people are increasingly using carton materials- such as eggnog, broth and wine cartons- for their festive recipes and gatherings. Now is the perfect time to introduce this to the city so we can allow residents to fully take advantage of all of the benefits that this program has.”
The Carton Council’s collaboration with the City of Philadelphia serves as a model for how other cities can promote and implement carton recycling in their communities. The Carton Council acted as a facilitator to help the City achieve its goal to add carton recycling to its curbside programs. A key step was working with the City’s recycling processors to ensure cartons would be marketable as a recyclable commodity before they would be added to the City’s program. The Carton Council provided technical and financial support for equipment upgrades for processing the cartons. The Carton Council is also supporting City staff as they raise awareness and disseminate information on carton recycling to local residents that use the City’s recycling services.

“Carton recycling is a win for Philadelphia’s residents and the environment,” said Derric Brown, Director of Sustainability for Evergreen Packaging, a Carton Council member. “We are committed to working with more cities to take the important step of expanding their recycling programs to keep cartons out of the landfills and into the recycling bin.”

For more information on the City of Philadelphia’s recycling programs, please visit the Streets Department’s website and social media pages at http://www.philadelphiastreets.com, http://www.facebook.com/PhilaStreets, http://www.facebook.com/UnLitterUs, http://www.twitter.com/PhilaStreets and http://www.twitter.com/UnLitterUs.

About the Carton Council
The Carton Council is a group of carton manufacturer united to deliver long term collaborative solutions in order to divert valuable cartons from the landfill. The members of the Carton Council are Elopak, Evergreen Packaging, SIG/SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak. They are working with local government officials, recycling facilities, paper mills and communities across the United States to build a robust system to recycle liquid food and beverage carton packages.