Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney joined other city leaders in introducing new legislative and regulation reforms that would encourage the preservation of more historic sites and buildings throughout the city.
Notable traits of Kenney’s proposal include creating new tiers of historic districts, which would provide and easier and more customizable route for properties looking to be preserved. A tiered district system would also lessen the burden of preservation and costs for property owners looking to protect their site.
Other significant areas of the proposal include a zoning bonus, which allows developers to build large structures in certain districts only if they also contribute funds to a new historic preservation fund, parking regulation changes, and new allowances of “accessory dwelling units” within historic homes. A final portion of the proposal would help protect historically significant properties from demolition by developers. The proposal would require more in-depth review of proposed demolitions as well as create an index of homes that are prohibited from being demolished until they receive further review from the Historical Commission.
Supporters of the proposal are optimistic about the possibilities, but are keeping a close eye on the exact wording and developments of the legislation; Oscar Beisert, a preservationist who attended the announcement, told PlanPhilly: “It sounds pretty good but I haven’t seen it [the legislation] yet and one little word could change everything.”
Overall, however, Kenney and his team hope to use these proposed changes to the city’s preservation process in order to “elevate the one thing that Philadelphia has that no other city can imagine and that’s our fabulous history.”