The Parks Advisory Council, created by the Department of Parks and Recreation, has presented a draft ordinance that will amend chapter 15-100 of the Philadelphia zoning code.This new ordinance will allow the city to sell land that has previously been designated as public parkland for commercial, industrial, or residential purposes.Not only will this ordinance drastically change the make-up of Philadelphia’s current parkland environment, but it will potentially do so at the expense of the public’s interest. It directly contradicts long standing legal protections and precedents that have been in place for years for the sole purpose of protecting parks.
While the proposal includes a provision that states that there will be no net loss in the overall amount of parkland in the city, non-recreational development on dedicated parkland is not what many people had in mind when they voted to disband the Fairmount Park Commission. After all, the Fairmount Park Commission’s sole mission and purpose was to protect and preserve Fairmount Park for over 150 years. This public space that has been a safe haven from the hustle and bustle of urban and industrial development.The current ordinance stipulates that replacement land will be acquired and converted into parkland in other areas in the city. Instead of using the parks as a place of solace for the people of Philadelphia, it seems like the city would prefer to use it to generate revenue. Click here to see the video of the discussion of this issue hosted on Plan Philly.