December, 2018 Minutes

December CDAG Board Meeting
Thursday, December 13, 6:00PM
Society Hill Towers Community Room
85 St. James Place

Call to Order and Approval of October and November Meeting Minutes
Motion to Approve. Seconded. Approved.

Presentation, Q&A, Discussion – Design Advocacy Group (DAG) membership application
Matt attended a DAG board meeting on behalf of CDAG.
Nando Micale from DAG presenting the application. DAG includes task force groups focused on advocacy. Nando Micale and James Templeton lead a task force focused on waterfront advocacy. 

Mission of DAG is to advance quality planning and design in the city. The group is made up of professionals including lawyers, architects, landscape architects, planners and also regular folks. They have about 1,600 members, 100 of which attend monthly meetings. The DAG board has reviewed the Waterfront Master Plan and the civic vision and it is aligned with their mission.

DAG meetings are held at 1218 Arch Street at 8am the first Thursday of every month. DAG is a subsidiary of Culture Works. 
We will vote on their membership application in the January meeting.

Discussion and Vote – Proposed CDAG Bylaws Amendment
Currently to admit a new organization the bylaws require a 75% approval of all voting members. The executive committee is recommending a change in the bylaws to require a majority of the voting members present at the meeting for approval.
Friendly amendment to the recommended bylaws change: The bylaws will be amended to require a super majority of the members present or 75% of the voting members present at the meeting.
Moved. Seconded. Unanimously Approved.

Candidate Statements and Voting – 2019 CDAG Officers
Chair: Matt Ruben is the only candidate. Re-elected.
Vice Chair: Candidate Comments from the five candidates and a vote for two vice chairs.
Joe Cain: Newly elected president of FNA and Vice Chair of Crosstown Coalition. He believes it is more important to know what is going early in the development process. He wants to preserve the integrity of the Waterfront Master Plan and the two overlays.
Paul Nutaitis: Retired software engineer living at the Court of Old Swedes. He feels very privileged to listen to developers pitch ideas and wants to help in any way he can.
Samantha Sarafina: Representative from Dickinson Square West and a graduate of the Citizens Planning Institute.
Fred Santilli: He lives at Waterfront Square and is the VP of Regatta board. He is inspired by how much people care about their neighborhoods.
Jane Winkel: Representative from Dickinson Square. She acknowledged the contributions of Diane Myer and Joe Schiavo
Joe Cain and Samantha Sarafina elected as Vice Chairs.
Secretary: Jane Winkel re-elected.
Treasurer: Jim Moss re-elected.

CDO Update: Take a-ways from a Stakeholder Meeting for the Central Delaware Overlay Changes,
We have reached a point where CDAG will need to advocate publicly and strongly to preserve the CDO. Joe and Matt told Councilman Squilla that he will need to justify the changes to any organization that questions the updates. CDAG will not be advocating approval of all of the changes to the CDO. 

1. There has always been a desire to add more river access streets to the CDO, and this update incudes more river access streets. Mifflin Street has been added back in as a river access street. Tasker Street is still included. South Street, Walnut Street, Chestnut Street and Market Street are newly added river access streets. Berks Street, Cumberland Street, Lehigh Street have been included for a long time and they remain in the plan. This legislation was introduced before the stakeholder meeting.

2. The requirement for Active Use on Columbus Blvd between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street will be expanded from Mifflin to Berks. Previously, single family houses were considered Active Use on Columbus and the effort to redefine Active Use will be included in the CDO. That is, if the ground floor of a building is 3’ or more above street level than the property does not count as Active Use. Since 90% of the overlay area is in the flood plain and residential buildings cannot have a ground floor in the flood plain, but commercial buildings can, by default residential buildings are excluded from the Active Use category. That language is still included in the CDO.

3. Restrictive covenants and deed restrictions are still included for properties with bonus amenities. Deed restriction will be in place until all the amenities are completed. Developers will not be able to obtain a permit for another building until the amenities are provided.

4. The unexpected change to the CDO is a result of an objection from Law Department at the Planning Commission. Large parcels, five acres or more with at least two building with height bonuses, were to go through the Plan of Development process, but the Planning Department did not run the language by the Law Department until after the language was developed. The Law Department objected to requiring a mandatory process.

Ann Fadullon, Director of Planning, directed planning staff to come up with an alternative that will satisfy the Law Department but still address large multi-phase developments, preserve view corridors and retain some control over massing. Planning came up with an Optional Review Process. No property owner has to enter this process. Developers with riverside lots that are zoned CMX3, 4 or 5, where there is not a height limit in the zoning code and the size of the building is based on a proportion of the lot area, can choose the Optional Review Process. If an owner decides to enter the process, then they must meet all of the requirements of the process. The Optional Review Process limits building width and requires at least 50’ between buildings. It restricts surface parking within 75’ of Columbus Ave. It restricts above ground parking abutting Columbus Ave unless 50% of the ground floor frontage has an active use or there is direct pedestrian access to a public plaza on the roof of the structure. The owner must construct their portion of the trail, unless it’s on a pier. They must provide a public open space that conforms to the CDO. They must meet the mixed income housing requirements that are in the code necessary for a FAR or height bonus or pay into the housing trust fund. All amenities must be constructed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Other than the FAR bonus you get for providing mixed income housing they are not eligible to apply for any other FAR bonuses or variances. Developers have to meet with the Planning Commission Executive Director, they have to go through Civic Design review, and they must get Planning Commission approval before they receive zoning approval and building permits.

If they go through the process they receive two waivers. The two waivers are 1) they are waived from underlying CMX 3, 4 and 5 parking requirements, and 2) instead of limiting height at 320’ height limits are waived. Height is still limited by FAR. A 1,000 sf property is still limited to 10 stories, but a 300,000 sf property with one building can go incredibly high

Peter Kelson, attorney for the Durst Organization, questioned the height limit at the fall meeting. Durst owns Morgan’s Pier, Dave and Busters and the marina in between. Durst is bidding on the landside parcel as well. Speculation is that Durst wants to build something very tall on the waterfront. The new changes to the CDO language are similar to the changes Kelson advocated for at the fall meeting. This appears to be a transaction to allow Durst to build taller

Building above seven stories is expensive. Any building over 75’ is a high rise. Once you hit high rise standard additional means of egress are required and the rating of the fire stairs and walls is more stringent, making construction is 15 to 20% more expensive per foot.

The optional process requires 50’ between buildings and it was agreed to add that to the CDO.

There are a handful of sites on the waterfront, maybe five or six, that are large enough to make the Optional Review Process feasible including the Conrail, Anderson, and K4 properties. 

Councilman Squilla knows that he must present the options to CDAG before the language is finalized and approved. CDAG board members are encouraged to contact the councilman to request that he present the changes to their civic organization.

We are at the end of an economic cycle and developers may be trying to entitle properties to increase value. As advocates we can let them do that and guide the process and encourage better zoning. Developers will not go through the onerous optional process unless they are planning to actually build. 

New Business
The PHL Association for CDCs is considering a campaign to support volunteer advocates and CDAG may be asked to help shape a potential plan. The zoning process is stacked against volunteer organizations. The ZBA goes against community groups constantly. There is no plan in place for community groups to influence the mayor or city council. 

Old Business
January 25this the DRWC quarterly board meeting, and they take public comment. The Shipyard development project can be addressed there. The site is historic. 

Closing Note
Matt Rubin expressed deep admiration and gratitude to Joe Schiavo as a relentless advocate for the waterfront. He is the vice-chair but has acted as a de facto co-chair. He is the keeper of documents, a walking encyclopedia of the minutia of the overlay and zoning code, a proactive recommender of good reforms for the CDO, and dedicated beyond all expectations. His shoes are, metaphorically, enormous and unfillable. We are all grateful for his service. It is not an exaggeration to say when our children’s children’s children are doing the 22nd century equivalent of yoga on Race Street Pier, when they are on Cherry Street Pier, when they are at La Peg, when they are at Spruce Street Harbor Park, when they are at the river rink, when they are able to bike up and down Columbus Blvd, when there is transit on Columbus Blvd, when they are in a water taxi, they will owe a debt to Joe Schiavo.

Motion to Adjourn. Seconded.






The PHL Association for CDCs is considering a campaign to support volunteer advocates and CDAG may be asked to help shape a potential plan. The zoning process is stacked against volunteer organizations. The ZBA goes against community groups constantly. There is no plan in place for community groups to influence the mayor or city council. 



















.






3. Restrictive covenants and deed restrictions are still included for properties with bonus amenities. Deed restriction will be in place until all the amenities are completed. Developers will not be able to obtain a permit for another building until the amenities are provided.

4. The unexpected change to the CDO is a result of an objection from Law Department at the Planning Commission. Large parcels, five acres or more with at least two building with height bonuses, were to go through the Plan of Development process, but the Planning Department did not run the language by the Law Department until after the language was developed. The Law Department objected to requiring a mandatory process.

Ann Fadullon, Director of Planning, directed planning staff to come up with an alternative that will satisfy the Law Department but still address large multi-phase developments, preserve view corridors and retain some control over massing. Planning came up with an Optional Review Process. No property owner has to enter this process. Developers with riverside lots that are zoned CMX3, 4 or 5, where there is not a height limit in the zoning code and the size of the building is based on a proportion of the lot area, can choose the Optional Review Process. If an owner decides to enter the process, then they must meet all of the requirements of the process. The Optional Review Process limits building width and requires at least 50’ between buildings. It restricts surface parking within 75’ of Columbus Ave. It restricts above ground parking abutting Columbus Ave unless 50% of the ground floor frontage has an active use or there is direct pedestrian access to a public plaza on the roof of the structure. The owner must construct their portion of the trail, unless it’s on a pier. They must provide a public open space that conforms to the CDO. They must meet the mixed income housing requirements that are in the code necessary for a FAR or height bonus or pay into the housing trust fund. All amenities must be constructed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Other than the FAR bonus you get for providing mixed income housing they are not eligible to apply for any other FAR bonuses or variances. Developers have to meet with the Planning Commission Executive Director, they have to go through Civic Design review, and they must get Planning Commission approval before they receive zoning approval and building permits.

If they go through the process they receive two waivers. The two waivers are 1) they are waived from underlying CMX 3, 4 and 5 parking requirements, and 2) instead of limiting height at 320’ height limits are waived. Height is still limited by FAR. A 1,000 sf property is still limited to 10 stories, but a 300,000 sf property with one building can go incredibly high. 

Peter Kelson, attorney for the Durst Organization, questioned the height limit at the fall meeting. Durst owns Morgan’s Pier, Dave and Busters and the marina in between. Durst is bidding on the landside parcel as well. Speculation is that Durst wants to build something very tall on the waterfront. The new changes to the CDO language are similar to the changes Kelson advocated for at the fall meeting. This appears to be a transaction to allow Durst to build taller. 

Building above seven stories is expensive. Any building over 75’ is a high rise. Once you hit high rise standard additional means of egress are required and the rating of the fire stairs and walls is more stringent, making construction is 15 to 20% more expensive per foot.

The optional process requires 50’ between buildings and it was agreed to add that to the CDO.

There are a handful of sites on the waterfront, maybe five or six, that are large enough to make the Optional Review Process feasible including the Conrail, Anderson, and K4 properties.

Councilman Squilla knows that he must present the options to CDAG before the language is finalized and approved. CDAG board members are encouraged to contact the councilman to request that he present the changes to their civic organization.

We are at the end of an economic cycle and developers may be trying to entitle properties to increase value. As advocates we can let them do that and guide the process and encourage better zoning. Developers will not go through the onerous optional process unless they are planning to actually build. 

New Business

The PHL Association for CDCs is considering a campaign to support volunteer advocates and CDAG may be asked to help shape a potential plan. The zoning process is stacked against volunteer organizations. The ZBA goes against community groups constantly. There is no plan in place for community groups to influence the mayor or city council. 

Old Business

January 25this the DRWC quarterly board meeting, and they take public comment. The Shipyard development project can be addressed there. The site is historic. 

Closing Note

Matt Rubin expressed deep admiration and gratitude to Joe Schiavo as a relentless advocate for the waterfront. He is the vice-chair but has acted as a de facto co-chair. He is the keeper of documents, a walking encyclopedia of the minutia of the overlay and zoning code, a proactive recommender of good reforms for the CDO, and dedicated beyond all expectations. His shoes are, metaphorically, enormous and unfillable. We are all grateful for his service. It is not an exaggeration to say when our children’s children’s children are doing the 22nd century equivalent of yoga on Race Street Pier, when they are on Cherry Street Pier, when they are at La Peg, when they are at Spruce Street Harbor Park, when they are at the river rink, when they are able to bike up and down Columbus Blvd, when there is transit on Columbus Blvd, when they are in a water taxi, they will owe a debt to Joe Schiavo.

Motion to Adjourn. Seconded.