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New day, new way indeed: we now have a David Auspitz-less zoning board
The king of zoning has given back his crown.
From the Inquirer:
David Auspitz has resigned as chairman of the city Zoning Board of Adjustment after nearly five years in the job.
Auspitz, a board member for 10 years, said yesterday that he submitted his resignation Dec. 17 and officially left the board Monday.
Mayor Nutter, who had criticized Auspitz's stewardship, is expected to name a replacement soon.
This opens space for a real shift in the balance of power between the ZBA and the city planning department. With an ongoing wholesale redrafting of the zoning code, the new administration is entering with something close to a blank slate.
The old day and old way is pretty familiar. Mandatory central air systems and near-autocracy:
While chairman, he was known to offer his opinions on development, parking garages, architectural design, and even his favorite foods. He also could dress down a powerful zoning lawyer or a civic-association volunteer or crack jokes.
Nutter once compared the board's proceedings to television's Judge Judy show.
Dan and I saw this in action. The room was Mr. Auspitz's domain, and everyone else was a supplicant. The planning department was both literally and effectively sidelined.
We have a chance for a much more efficient and transparent system. So it is crucial that the zoning redrafting process effectively balance interests. Keep an eye on planphilly.com for chances to participate, learn, and weigh in.
So much hope and expectation has been laid on this new administration; everyone wants this to finally be the city we know it can be. But here's literally a chance to create a framework for good development and to change the way things get built.
See ya, old way.