Kenney To Hist Commission: Put Buildings On Register, Get More Funding


PECO's Delaware Station has occupied the former Neafie & Levy site since World War I | Photo: Bradley Maule

PECO’s Delaware Station has occupied the former Neafie & Levy site since World War I. It’s not on the Philadelphia Historic Register | Photo: Bradley Maule

  • Councilman James Kenney is proposing to augment the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s coffers, says The Inquirer, with the transfer of $500,000 from the City’s reserve fund. Additionally, another 1,000 sites would be added to the local historic registry, which currently contains less than the national list for Philadelphia. “The bill would create a fee schedule that would let the commission charge for making a nomination for historical designation and for reviewing proposals for permits that would alter the appearance of the historic building. The fees, which would vary depending on the size of the project, would go to the general fund.”
  • Sic Transit Philadelphia delves into the details of a possible deal between SEPTA and South Korean firm TIS Inc., which would like to use Philly as an initial stepping stone into the American market for platform screen doors; automated partitions that prevent debris and passengers from falling onto the tracks. The company’s business model is clearly attractive: it would front the cost, merely demanding the pursuant advertising revenue only as far as recouping it. “If this is true, even in broad outlines, then SEPTA should be looking to sign on the dotted line,” argues the blog, “as fast as it can find a pen.”
  • In a non-binding vote on Tuesday, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission failed to recommend that City Council approve Councilman Bobby Henon’s proposal for an overlay in Mayfair that would ban a litany of commercial uses–enumerated by Plan Philly as: “barber shops, car washes, nail salons, laundromats, beauty parlors, beer distributors, fortune tellers, pawn shops, private clubs, thrift stores, cell phone stores, group daycares, tobacco shops, and car dealerships.” The Commission rationalized that since 34% of businesses in the area already constitute those kinds of business, the overlay would bring about an undue hardship for owners, as they could not expand in the future. Henon respectfully disagrees with this interpretation, and will nevertheless bring the measure for the full Council’s consideration.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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1 Comment

  1. Fingers crossed that Kenney’s bill passes. However, if the passage of the bill incorporates the National Register of Historic Places-listed buildings (said to be 20,000) into the register of buildings that are locally protected (said to be 12,000 to 13,000), then wouldn’t this protect roughly 7,000 to 8,000 additional buildings? FYI, contrary to what Mr. Farnham reportedly said in the Inquirer article, the National Register of Historic Places is not just a tool for tax credits. Most of the buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places will never see a tax credit project. Many cities use the National Register of Historic Places as a standard by which to list and protect historic properties on a local level. For example, in Washington, D.C., the process of listing a property in the National Register of Historic Places and local landmark designation is concurrent. In Harrisburg, all National Register properties are automatically locally protected. This would be a major win for local preservation in Philadelphia.

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