Manayunk Neighborhood Council

February 12, 2002

Dominic Verdi, Deputy Commissioner
Department of Licenses & Inspections
990 Spring Garden, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, Pa. 19123

Dear Deputy Commissioner Verdi,

We wish to report new developments on the illegal development of a parcel in the floodway of the Schuylkill River on Venice Island in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. The property is located between the Green Lane Bridge and SEPTA's Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge. The address for the property is 4460R and 4490R Main Street, originally 4383 Main Street.

We originally alerted you to the problem when the owner, Frank Giovianoni (610-825- 8312), illegally cleared and filled the property in June of 2000. L&I ordered Mr. Giovianoni to stop construction but did not order him to remove the illegal fill. Complaints 153525 and 153690 were filed with the PA DEP. FEMA Region III also visited the site, took photos and was going to contact the City of Philadelphia. The property is in the floodway of the Schuylkill River.

The owner has recently removed the vegetation that had grown back since June of 2000, has leveled the surface and spread new gravel. There are several additional piles of gravel on the site.

We were disappointed and concerned that no further action was forthcoming from any of these agencies. Any development of this land would require a variance to Philadelphia code sections 14-1606 (floodplain regulations) and 14-1603.1 (storm water management). No variance has been sought or granted and the owner is now piece-wise developing this land in blatant disregard of the law. The property also contains a billboard which does not conform to the City's billboard regulations (14- 1604(9)(a)--Proximity to the Green Lane bridge).

Philadelphia City Code and Home Rule Charter

14-1606--Flood Plain Controls.

(5)   Special Controls. The following special controls are imposed
      to regulate setbacks in the flood plain, construction, and
      earth-moving activity along watercourses subject to
      flooding. These controls are in addition to the requirements
      of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources:

 (a)  Within the Floodway:

      (.1) No encroachment (including fill, new construction,
           or any development) is permitted except that public
           utilities are permitted as long as they cause no
           increase in the One-Hundred (100) Year Flood level.

14-1603.1--Storm Water Management Controls.

(2)   Definitions.

 (d)  Construction.  Any on-site activity which will result in
      the change of natural or existing drainage patterns
      including alteration of existing contours of the
      property, erection of buildings and other structures on
      any part thereof, or clearing;

 (h)  Earth Moving Activity.  Any construction or other
      activity which disturbs the surface of land including
      but not limited to excavations, embankments, land
      development, subdivision development and the moving,
      depositing or storing of soil, rock or earth;

(4)   Permit Required For Certain Activities.

 (a)  No person shall perform any of the following activities
      within the City unless the person has first obtained a
      permit issued pursuant to this Section:

      (.2) Altering the shoreline or banks of any surface
           water body;

Any development of this site must conform to the city floodway and other regulations. The current, obvious, attempt to circumvent these regulations must be stopped immediately. If the owner does not seek the required variances and permits, the land should be returned to it's original state before it was filled in 2000.

Please keep us updated with actions take with regard to this matter. I can be reached at the Manayunk Neighborhood Council address or by phone at 215-482-5528, or by fax at 215-487-3811. Please review the enclosed photos for reference.

Thank you
Jane Glenn President
cc: David Perri P.E, Deputy Commissioner, L&I
Martin Soffer, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Councilman Michael Nutter
Kay Smith, Manayunk Development Corporation

Encl: 2 pages -w- photos

Overview from February 1998 (Stella-Ling)
Annotated USGS Arial Photo (March 1992)
June 2000 view from across the canal--After clearing
February 2002 view from across the canal--New fill
February 2002 view Green Lane Bridge
February 2002 closeup of the fill

Drown image
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Clean, Safe image
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