Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's Convince City Council to Protect 50 Feet of ALL of Philly's Waterways

As part of a four-year zoning reform process, Philadelphia's City Council approved a new zoning code that called for 50-foot buffers on our city's rivers and streams. This past August, developers were able to prevent this provision from being put into effect with the rest of the code. Bill 120654 would restore this provision. But developers are leaning on City Council to weaken the bill.

City Council members need to hear that this rule is necessary to protect Philadelphia's drinking water and allow the potential for future waterway access. 
Missing trail: Mr. Storage on Main St. in Manayunk is built all the way
to the riverbank, causing enormous problems in trying to connect
trails. A 50ft buffer would prevent future headaches.
You can help in two ways.
  1. Send a quick email to Councilmembers letting them know that you want them to support a "clean" Bill 120654 with no amendments to the 50 foot rule.
  2. Attend the October 31st Rules Committee hearing at 10:00 am in City Council. We want to fill the room with supporters of a 50 foot rule for all waterways.
 From our friends at PennFuture; here's why this bill is important:

What we know:
  • Buffers protect water quality, filter toxins, 
  • prevent flooding and allow for future recreational trails along our streams and rivers. 
  • Introduced in September, Bill 120654 would restore 50-foot buffers on ALL waterways, while allowing for exceptions for industrial, marine, and vital port related uses. 
  • Fifty feet is less than he distance between home plate and the pitcher's mound at Citizens Bank Park — yet developers are still trying to stand in the way of repairing and protecting our watersheds. 
What could result if the bill is not passed:
  • Water quality declines and floods worsen
  • Water bills increase as the Water Department is forced to build more expensive infrastructure to filter pollution
  • Miles of waterfront trails aren't built because of buildings at the water's edge.
Why we need action now:
  • Council is considering amendments — after pressure from developers — that would weaken Bill 120654.
  • A hearing on the bill will be held on Halloween in City Hall. Will it be a trick or a treat? We need you to show up to tell them that protecting our water quality is critical.


Gladwyne Montessori said...

Sarah -
Are you saying that 50 feet of paved cycling trail is better than 50 feet of seldom-accessed storage space? I expect more trash and more damage to the river bank. Less revenue to the storage people means less tax revenue to the city which means more tax for cyclists and everyone.

Sarah Clark Stuart said...

No, I'm not saying 50 feet of paved trail. Trails are only 12-14 fee wide. A 50 foot buffer, even with a 12-14 foot path on it, would provide more permeable surface than 50 feet of infrastructure and that helps keep the Schuylkill River cleaner and prevents stormwater runoff. In turn, that saves the City money that it otherwise has to spend on stormwater treatment.