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Philadelphia Mayor Vetoes Several Development-Related Bills

Among a package of bills that died in the pocket of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at the beginning of the New Yer was a bill intended to ensure that developers contribute to communities.
January 7, 2020, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Natalia Bratslavsky

"A bill requiring developers to provide public services and amenities in neighborhoods where they build major projects was passed by [the Philadelphia] City Council on the last day of its four-year term," reported Jake Blumgart in December. By the end of the month, however, the fate of that bill had taken a turn, when Mayor Jim Kenny killed the bill, along with five others, with the power of the pocket veto. 

Blumgart also reported the details of this twist in the development plot: "With his first term coming to an end, the mayor Tuesday released a letter to the city’s legislators announcing that he will kill six pieces of legislation via a handy maneuver known as the pocket veto. The opportunity to pull such a move comes only once every four years at the end of a Council term when the sitting mayor can simply decide not to sign bills and, thus, quietly sentence them to death."

Along with the community development agreement requirement, the mayor also killed several other planning- and development-related bills:

An expansion of the homestead exemption that accompanied the recent alteration of the 10-year property tax abatement got canned and two bills that rewrote the city’s zoning rules for Society Hill. Also dead: an unpopular ban on food trucks operating on Market Street between 33rd and 34th Streets in University City.

According to the previous coverage of the development agreement bill, the development agreement requirement was expected to be hard to enforce. "Given the holes in the legislative language and the lack of mandated penalties, the city’s development industry isn’t too worried," wrote Blumgart earlier in the month.

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Published on Thursday, December 19, 2019 in PlanPhilly
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