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City council narrowly passes controversial tax on construction projects

By a razor-thin margin, Philadelphia City Council voted to implement a new tax on construction projects, a controversial measure designed to raise money for affordable housing but one that has divided some of the area’s most influential forces. Lawmakers said the tax will generate about $22 million annually. On one side of the legislation was Philadelphia’s politically powerful building trades unions, who argued that it would slow the city’s construction boom. On the other, Council President Darrell L. Clarke and activists said the city has to be a more affordable place to live. Even after the proposal’s passage, it’s unclear whether it will become law; Council sources said Mayor Kenney is likely to veto the bill. Kenney said he will decide what to do over the summer and consider alternative proposals. It takes 12 votes to override a mayoral veto. “I’m committed to increasing Philadelphia’s affordable housing stock and to promoting equitable growth, but I have concerns about this particular piece of legislation,” Kenney said. “Philadelphia is already considered by many to have a pretty onerous tax system, and it is certainly not clear that adding another tax is the best way to address our housing crisis.” The 1 percent tax on construction would help finance the city’s Housing Trust Fund, revenues from which could be used by developers to build housing for those households earning up to $105,000 a year.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 6/21/2018 

DeLissio announces 73rd Town Hall to discuss Government Reform Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio    

Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio    May 4, 2018 | 1:36 PM

PHILADELPHIA, May 4 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 73rd Town Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 17 in the Abbottsford Community Center, located at 3226 McMichael St. Street parking is available and location is on bus route 52 and R.

DeLissio’s discussion will focus on government reforms and questions about whether the reforms are a power struggle between the legislative and executive branches of government.

"The House recently passed a package of Government Reform bills. I think it is important to understand the intent of these bills and why I am concerned they could have a negative impact on citizens,” DeLissio said.

"Constituent input and feedback is important to me, and I look forward to hearing from those who attend. I am always thrilled to see familiar faces and to welcome new ones. Your comments, questions and voice matter to me.” 

Constituents from all parts of the 194th are welcome to attend.  

More information can be obtained by calling DeLissio’s office at (215) 482-8726 or on her website

Roxborough Music FestivalPublic  · Hosted by Friends of Gorgas Park June 2nd

The first Roxborough Music Festival takes place on Saturday, June 2nd. Free Live music, food trucks, and Parks on Tap will be on site. Music starts at 3pm

Andorra Service Station Shooting Suspects' Footage Released

The suspects shot a worker at a business Friday night in the Andorra section of Philadelphia. Police released photos and video of the men.

ANDORRA, PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Police have released photos and video footage of the suspects who shot a clerk in an attempted armed robbery that occurred Friday night in the Andorra section of Philadelphia.

Police said the crime occurred at about 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26 at Mike's Service Center at 8901 Ridge Ave.

Two men entered the business, one armed Tech-9 semi-automatic handgun, and demanded money, police said.

The employee, a 47-year-old male, fought with the suspects as he tried to get away, but he was pistol whipped in the head and face, police said.

The suspects took the victim to the floor and continued to beat him, with one of the men eventually shooting him in the side, police said. The victim is in critical condition after being rushed to Temple University Hospital Friday night, police said.

The suspects fled the store on foot without taking anything and were last seen heading east on Manatawna Avenue, police said.

The suspects are described as black males.

One was 6 feet tall with an athletic build and wore a gray or green jacket, black knit hat, dark pants and was armed with the handgun, police said. The other was also 6 feet tall and had a stocky build. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with unknown logos on the front and dark pants, police said.

Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to contact Philadelphia Police Detectives Hassel and Acerenza with the Northwest Detective Division at (215) 686-3353 or (215) 686-3354.

Confidential tips can be submitted by calling (215) 686-8477 or texting 773847.

The public should not approach the suspects if they are seen and should call 911 immediate instead.

Image via YouTube screenshot

Bill to halt demolitions along Ridge Avenue moves forward

The bill would prevent demolitions in the zoned area for one year

By Melissa Romero  

A bill to place a one-year demolition moratorium on properties lining a five-mile stretch of Ridge Avenue through Manayunk and Roxborough has cleared its latest hurdle and now goes to City Council.

The Committee on Rules voted Tuesday to move Bill No. 170821 out of the committee and into City Council. The bill would put a temporary halt on demolitions along Ridge Avenue between Wissahickon Creek and Northwestern Avenue for the next 12 months, or until the Philadelphia Historical Commission initiates the process for historic designation for at least 25 percent of the properties located within the five-mile stretch.

However, any buildings that Licenses and Inspections (L&I) deemed unsafe during this time would not be included in the moratorium.

The bill was proposed by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. in late September. This stretch of Ridge Avenue has experienced rapid demolition followed by development, replacing old structures with retail and developments. The 19th-century Bunting House at 5901 Ridge Avenue, for example, was razed in 2013 to make way for a Wendy’s.

Bill No. 170821 breakdown

  • 12: The length in months of the proposed demolition moratorium
  • 317: Number of buildings that would be protected from demolition
  • 5: The length in miles on Ridge Avenue of the proposed protected area between Wissahickon Creek and Northwestern Avenue

“Sixty-six percent of Fairmount Park resides in this district,” Jones, Jr. said at the public hearing. “It’s not a bad backyard. However, you would think there would be an overabundance of green space everywhere—that is not the case.”

“We wanted to avoid a stampede of people going to file demolition permits to have them on the books so they could circumvent this review,” he continued.

The area in play includes 500-plus properties that the original bill proposed to be protected from demolition. The avenue itself dates back to the Lenape, and has ties to pre-American Revolutionary era and the Underground Railroad. The average age of the properties is around 100 years.

After the bill was first proposed in September, the planning commission put a 45-day hold on it, which provided the Historical Commission with more time to study the site. The commission’s analysis found that of the 566 properties, 317 of them were potentially eligible for historic designation.

At Tuesday’s public hearing, the commission’s executive director Jon Farnham voiced his support of the bill, although he requested that the moratorium be limited to 317 properties deemed eligible; 13 of those already have historic designations.

“Limiting it to those properties will increase transparency and predictability, reduce burdens on property owners, and allow the commission to focus it resources on those buildings,” he said.

If the bill passes, the commission will then initiate the process of adding the most significant of the 300-plus properties to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The bill also has the support of local historic preservation groups Save Our Sites and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. Paul Steinke, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, said, “We hope that this bill will serve as a model for other historic commercial corridors around the city.”

Romero. Melissa. (2017, December 5). Bill to halt demolitions along Ridge Avenue moves forward. Retrieved from​​


By popular demand, URCA is now accepting membership fees and donations via Paypal!!!!  You asked, we listened.  Supporting your local civic has never been easier.



URCA needs your support.  Becoming an active member of the Civic Association guarantees that you will not miss important notifications regarding upcoming events, pending matters of interest and meeting reminders.  Dues are very affordable at $10 per person and $25 for businesses.  These dues cover our expenses such as insurance and rental fees for meetings.  They are also the source of funding that we have with which to hire professional services such as an attorney for zoning matters.  Without these membership dues, we cannot continue to operate.  Please spread the word!


2018 Membership Application
2018 member application.pdf
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We are a non-profit organization and rely on the support of members. Membership dues cover the costs associated with representing the area such as insurance, communications, and other admin fees. Membership is $10 for individuals and $25 for businesses annually.

To join, email us or come to the next meeting.


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