RESOLUTION REGARDING PHILADELPHIA LAND USE AND ZONING

WHEREAS, certain Bills (Bill Numbers 060699 and 060682) are pending consideration before the City Council (“City Council”) of the City of Philadelphia (“Philadelphia”), which, if passed, would provide that certain amendments to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be submitted for approval by the voters of the City of Philadelphia relating to, among other things, the creation, appointment, powers and duties of an independent Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, as well as relating to revision of the composition of the City Planning Commission; and,

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has a strong interest in any proposed legislation intended to update and modernize the City's administrative codes, regulations and boards so as to create a more competitive and attractive business and residential environment in the City, to promote economic growth, to enhance the real estate market by encouraging investment in new and existing properties and developments, and to improve the efficiency of governmental functions; and,

WHEREAS, similar efforts and proposals, have previously been made with respect to rewriting or substantially amending and restating the existing Zoning Code, including a reform agenda set forth in a report of the Building Industry of Philadelphia released in October, 2004 and entitled "If We Fix It, They Will Come" (“Report”), which sets forth ten proposals to modernize and simplify the Zoning Code and its review process; and,

WHEREAS, in November, 2005, the Bar Association passed a Resolution supporting adoption of the reform agenda set forth in said Report, as well as other measures to improve the development review process in Philadelphia; and,

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has an interest in ensuring that the proposals specify how the proposed Commission would be constituted, including but not limited to informing the voters regarding: how decisions will be made about the professional and/or community background and expertise of the appointed Commission members; who would make such appointments; whether the appointees would serve for a certain specified term; whether the Commission's report would be due within a certain specified time period; to whom the Commission would report; how the Commission's report would be discussed, modified or adopted; the number of members of the proposed Commission; and the scope of its obligations; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission Bill, if passed, would require appointment to the City Planning Commission, of certain specifically named land use professionals and a minimum number of representatives of Philadelphia community groups that participate in land use issues; and,

WHEREAS, the City and its business and residential property owners and users currently face an increasingly complex set of real estate and planning issues, as well as issues which may arise in the future; and,

WHEREAS, such current issues, include, for example, environmental issues, sewage disposal, water and stormwater use and management, which may have ramifications beyond the specific areas of expertise of an urban planner, architect, traffic engineer, attorney experienced in land use issues and representatives of community groups, who are the individuals mentioned in Bill 060682 as required members of the City Planning Commission.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS:

For the reasons set forth above, the Board of Governors:
(1) Reaffirms its prior Resolution dated November 22, 2005, endorsing a variety of reform measures that would streamline and modernize Philadelphia’s Zoning Code and the development review process; and,
(2) Supports passage of legislation similar to Bill Number 060682, provided it promotes the inclusion of experienced community representatives and professionally trained individuals or experts with appropriate expertise in land use and land development issues, as may be deemed necessary or appropriate from time to time; and,
(3) Urges City Council and the Mayor to consider these Resolutions; and,
(4) Offers to work with the City, its Boards and Commissions, and other interested parties to develop strategies to implement these reforms; and,
(5) Authorizes and directs the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association to take such steps as may be necessary or appropriate to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: NOVEMBER 30, 2006