RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE BILL NUMBER 030645 AMENDING TITLE 14 OF THE PHILADELPHIA CODE RELATING TO ZONING AND PLANNING

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia City Council introduced Bill number 030645 (the "Bill") on October 2, 2003 (the "Bill") which amends Title 14 of the Philadelphia Code relating to Zoning and Planning (the "Zoning Code") by adding a new section 14-1628 entitled "Zoning and Construction Permits for Retail Stores";

WHEREAS, the Bill prohibits the grant of any permits, zoning or building, to retail store and/or shopping facility over 180,000 square feet if the store or facility sells certain items such as non-taxable food, cosmetics, soaps, non-prescription drugs and toiletries;

WHEREAS, the Bill further prohibits the grant of any permits, zoning or building, in connection with any development, redevelopment, construction, reconstruction, modification, or substantial alteration to any retail store and/or shopping facility over 90,000 square feet, if more than 10% of that facility's anticipated projected gross sales revenues will be from non-taxable food, cosmetics, soaps, non-prescription drugs and toiletries unless the facility submits a "verified economic impact statement" to the City of Philadelphia;

WHEREAS, the Bill requires that any retail store and/or shopping facility exceeding 90,000 square feet file detailed annual reports with the City of Philadelphia regarding its total current square footage and gross sales revenues from non-taxable food, cosmetics, soaps, non-prescription drugs;

WHEREAS, the Bill would permit the City of Philadelphia or any person to institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief to enforce the requirements of the proposed ordinance;

WHEREAS, the Bill imposes substantial penalties and fines of up to 50% of gross sales revenues on any retail store and/or shopping facility that violates any of the Bill's provisions;

WHEREAS, this Bill was not drafted by the City Planning Commission and is inconsistent with other provisions and definitions of the Zoning Code;

WHEREAS, the Bill would exclude large retail establishments in Philadelphia and regulate smaller retailers as well;

WHEREAS, this Bill has generated deep concern among practitioners due to the fact that it is very vague, lacks legislative findings, lacks definitions and procedures for administration and would have significant unintended consequences that might prove to be economically devastating for the City of Philadelphia;

WHEREAS, this Bill:

a) would have an adverse impact on business and trade, and, if enacted, would send a negative message to retailers and companies desirous of conducting business in the City of Philadelphia;

b) would have the effect of rendering almost every existing grocery store, large drug store and many other existing establishments in violation of its provisions;

c) would prohibit retailers who sell such products from having stores exceeding 90,000 square feet, thus outlawing most drug stores and corner grocers;

d) would unfairly and improperly serve to control the inventory decisions of merchants;

e) would make it almost impossible for existing retailers who sell the listed products to expand and renovate their properties by denying building permits and requiring variances and other zoning permits;

f) would force retailers to comply with ambiguous annual reporting requirements that are both onerous and intrusive;

g) would permit "any person" to institute proceedings against any "alleged violator" without the requirement that the challenge be merited, which provisions could result in baseless lawsuits, including frivolous actions brought in bad faith by competitors;

h) would cause retailers to seriously reconsider whether they want to do business in a city that subjects their merchants to these demanding standards and the high risk of expensive litigation;

i) would impose penalties that would amount to a hidden tax on doing business in the City of Philadelphia;

j) would be inconsistent with comprehensive planning principles, the Zoning Code and would violate public policy.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association is opposed to the passage of this Bill or any similar legislation; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor, or her designee, is authorized to take all necessary steps, including contacting the Mayor and City Council, to effectuate this Resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: NOVEMBER 25, 2003