In terms of real estate, Philadelphia is currently going through major changes. As parts of the city gentrify, often the seeds of dispute are sewn by the new supplanting the old, and by economic forces flexing their muscles. Citizens on either side of a dispute should be aware of the goings-on at planning meetings and zoning hearings.

Neighborhoods can organize to voice their approval or disapproval of a particular project, and it is a good idea to have an attorney on your side if you intend to promote or speak out against a zoning variance or a building plan. An attorney can also help challenge unfair zoning practices, condemnation and eminent domain actions.

Community members recently met to voice their views on the gentrification of neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. The primary concerns related to higher rent and increased property taxes for residents who have lived in the area for years. Those who spoke at the meeting expressed grievances about the negative effects gentrification can have on long-standing neighborhood connections and a sense of community.

After eminent domain actions — whereby the local government took control of numerous properties — many people in North Philadelphia moved out of their old communities. Referring to the construction of new condominiums in the area, meeting attendees expressed their disappointment at having been pushed out of their neighborhoods.

An organizer of the meeting encouraged those present to take an active role by attending future zoning board hearings.

Cities are bound to change, and it is in large part up to community members to determine how those changes take shape. Our real estate website has more on resolving disputes related to zoning, condominiums, eminent domain and condemnation.

Source: Philly.com, “North Philadelphia meeting addresses gentrification,” Valerie Russ, March 4, 2014