DAG Dispatch

By Lachelle Weathers, DAG Fellow

Start the week off with a wrap up of Philadelphia area news, public proposals, and happenings in the world of design, architecture, and planning. Follow us @designadvocacy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and subscribe to our email list to keep up with DAG Dispatch. Articles are shared to spark dialogue and keep our members informed, and do not represent DAG’s endorsement of an idea or project.

Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make some major changes to the Philadelphia zoning board of adjustments. The ZBA, as it stands, is a group of five people appointed by the mayor that may not have expertise in the field. This is something Clarke wants to change, increasing the board to seven individuals including an architect, urban planner,  zoning attorney, real estate agent and two community organization representatives. This proposed change in the City Charter will need to be approved by voters. 


Although the former firehouse was never nominated to be placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, Julie Russell and real estate investor boyfriend, Shane Fischer, decided to restore the building to as much of the original structure as possible in the renovation of their “forever home.” Engine 10 at 808 Morris Street was built in 1874 and remained as an active station until 1953 when the station was relocated. The front and back facades are still intact and with Russell’s renovation, the firehouse dazzles yet again!


This past week, Council President Clarke introduced legislation to remove affordable housing zoning bonuses in almost all of North Philadelphia. These bonuses allowed developers to surpass zoning requirements if they allocated a certain number of affordable housing units in their project. Removing this bonus holds developers to stricter guidelines as far as building size, height, and relationship to the community, but what else does it change?

SEPTA bus riders are frustrated with long wait times. According to officials, there is a shortage of operators. The transit agency is down 105 bus operators and has not been able to recoup from the hiring freeze at the start of the pandemic. Juggling callouts due to illness, family emergencies, etc. leaves SEPTA’s nine bus garages in a scramble trying to cover shifts. Don’t worry though...relief is on the way! New recruits are scheduled for training in the coming weeks, so hopefully the delays across the city won’t be for much longer.