Philadelphia City Planning Commission Establishes Civic Design Review Committee

Philadelphia, October 24, 2012 – The City of Philadelphia announced the establishment of the City’s first Civic Design Review Committee.  The seven-member  committee, mandated as part of the city’s new zoning code,  will advise the City Planning Commission as it reviews development projects that have a significant impact on public streets, sidewalks, trails, parks, and open spaces. The committee will consist of six standing members and one rotating member depending on the project’s location.


“Establishing the Civic Design Review Committee demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that development projects make the most positive impact possible on Philadelphia’s treasured public spaces, both downtown and in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.


The committee intends to meet monthly, two weeks prior to scheduled City Planning Commission meetings, but only if projects are submitted for review that month and have been identified by the Department of Licenses and Inspections during the permitting process.  The meetings will be open to the public and advertized on the City Planning Commission’s website:


According to the zoning code, projects to be reviewed by the committee are determined by such factors as use, size, height, location, and zoning.  For instance, any large nonindustrial project with more than 100,000 square feet of floor space or 100 dwelling units will qualify. Smaller projects also may require review, particularly if they are very different in proposed size from nearby properties.


Six members of the committee have been appointed by Mayor Nutter; under the zoning code, each of the six must have a specific set of professional credentials. Committee members include:

  • Nancy Rogo Trainer, principal at VSBA, LLC, architect, and member of the City Planning Commission since 2008;
  • Michael Johns, acting deputy executive director for operations at the Philadelphia Housing Authority and architect;
  • Anita Toby Lager, managing principal at LRSLAstudio and landscape architect;
  • Dan Garofalo, environmental sustainability coordinator and senior facilities planner at the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Anne Fadullon, director of real estate development and investment at the Dale Corporation; and
  • Cecil Baker, architect and long-standing Washington Square West Civic Association zoning committee member.


The seventh seat on the committee is rotating for each project, to be filled by a representative of a local registered community organization in the project’s area.  The new zoning code also established a formal registry of community organizations to help ensure involvement by communities in the development process.


Nancy Rogo Trainer, the committee’s City Planning Commission representative, will serve as chairman as stipulated in the code.  Gary J. Jastrzab, the City Planning Commission’s executive director, will advise the Civic Design Review Committee but is not a voting member.


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