Waterfront advocates, planners red light two car-related projects

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A third gets green because it fits well with the waterfront, they say

Three proposed businesses are taking zoning laws that ban certain auto-related uses from the Central Delaware Waterfront on a test drive.

Waterfront advocates, planners and civic leaders say they like the way those behind a Desimone Cadillac proposal for the corner of Fairmount and Delaware avenues are handling the course. Their project calls for an indoor auto showroom with a cafe on the ground floor and apartments on six floors above. There’s no big parking lot with cars outside. There’s a mix of uses, and there’s activity on the ground floor, they say.

But the same groups are signaling red to a Piazza Auto Group plan for a more typical auto dealership at the southwest corner of Delaware Avenue and Brown Street, the site of a current bus facility. And they are seeing red that L&I granted an over-the-counter permit for a AAA auto repair shop near Delaware and Reed, saying the agency violated the zoning it’s supposed to uphold when it did so.

Reducing auto dependency along the Central Delaware, which stretches from Oregon to Allegheny avenues, and from I-95 to the river, is among the goals of The Central Delaware Master Plan and the Central Delaware Overlay, which codifies the plan.

That doesn’t mean banning cars or all car-related uses, said Karen Thompson, planner/project manager at the Central Delaware Waterfront Corporation, the quasi-city agency that manages city-owned Delaware Waterfront land and oversaw creation of both the master plan and overlay. But it does mean regulations and goals designed to make the waterfront people, bicycle and mass-transit friendly. This includes buildings that are close to the sidewalk and have active ground-floor uses, limits on curb-cuts and parking lots. Outdoor auto storage “takes up a lot of space we feel has a higher and better use under the Master Plan,” she said.

See:  http://planphilly.com/articles/2014/02/21/waterfront-advocates-planners-red-light-two-car-related-projects

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