Testify in Support of Stream Buffers!

City Hall Philadelphia, PA

Some Background on Buffer Ordinance #120654 

With all of our streams and rivers — the source of our drinking water — officially classified as impaired by the EPA, we need to do everything we can to protect and repair our waterways.

The Philadelphia City Council Rules Committee heard testimony on Buffer Ordinance #120654 on October 31, 2012. This ordinance would update the Zoning Code to require a minimum 50-foot setback from the top of the bank of all rivers and streams in the city.

Approximately 20 people came out to testify in support of the bill in October. Many cited the environmental and social benefits of riverfront setbacks and noted that this recommendation was a result of a compromise reached during the 4-year process to update the City's Zoning Code. The proposed legislation was also agreed to by a working group of several interested parties, including SRDC, earlier this year.

Closing the Loopholes 

Despite the cited benefits of stream setbacks and the 50-foot minimum buffer agreed to by those involved in the zoning process and working group, Councilman Henon's office has introduced some amendments that would create significant "loopholes" in the legislation that significantly negate the buffer concept, including one which would reduce the setback along the entire river frontage of a property that had an existing building within 50 feet of the shore.

The Councilman has also introduced an alternate set of amendments that, while not as strong as the unamended legislation, keeps a bit more within the spirit of the buffer concept.

After hearing testimony from those present, Committee Chair Greenlee announced that the hearing on this issue would continue on Wednesday, November 14.

We Need Your Voice! 

Please come to City Council hearing at 10 am on Wednesday, November 14 (City Hall Room 400) to support the unamended version of Buffer Ordinance #120654. We need to show a strong force at the conclusion of this hearing - the more people we have testifying in support of a loophole-free bill, the better!

For talking points, or to learn how to submit written testimony to your councilmember, click on the links to the right.