This blog has taken note of a number of disputes involving neighbors’ objections to the plans of developers that threaten an older neighborhood with what the neighbors view as unacceptable change. On several recent occasions, however, Philadelphia developers have listened to the neighbors, changed their plans and seen opposition turn to support.
The recent modification of a development project on the site of the St. Francis Xavier convent on the 2300 block of Green Street provides a heartening illustration of such cooperation. The convent had been vacant for many years, and a developer bought the site intending to build 50 to 60 luxury apartments. Instead of obtaining necessary rezoning and building permits and going forward, the developer met with neighbors who had expressed various concerns about the project. After several meetings with the neighbors, the developer decided to discard his original plan and build 10 luxury townhomes priced at $1.75 million and above. The project is now under construction, with half of the units already sold and with the neighborhood solidly behind the revised plan.
Similar meetings between developers and opponents have facilitated projects other locations in the city. For example, at North Leithgow Street and St. John Neumann Way, neighborhood opposition resulted in a revised plan that was described by the developer as “a better looking project” than originally planned.
Whether a person is opposing a new development or is seeking neighborhood approval for such a project, the assistance of an experienced real estate and zoning attorney can be helpful. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an overview of the complex web of zoning laws and regulations that govern re-development projects and suggest legal strategies for optimizing the chances of securing a favorable outcome.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Phila. developers are learning compromise can pay off,” Alan J. Heavens, Jan. 3, 2016