STELLA LING'S PARK
(from MNC June 2000 newsletter)
| Stella Ling, a landscape
architect, presented plans at our July, 1999 general meeting for a park
on Venice Island between the Green Land Bridge and SEPTA's Pennsylvania
Railroad Bridge. The park was to include a bit of the island's industrial
history with a stone wall, building debris, and floodplain vegetation. Stella
was given our full support for the project.
She was negotiating the purchase of the property with the owner over the past year. MDC and the Water Department were also involved in the project. We all thought the park was going to be completed.
It was a sad day early this June when we discovered the property had been bulldozed and spread with landfill. Stella's reaction to the news was that it was incredibly disheartening and devastating to see. She had plans to be away and in her absence we have taken up the case.
We found that the owner of the adjacent parking lot recently purchased the property. It looks like he planned to expand the parking lot. Our experience with other projects on Venice Island gave us the knowledge that this project was illegal. We know no permits were filed in such a short time and that the property is in the floodway. A variance to the city's floodway ordinance is required to place fill in the floodway. The property was a low point on the island by which run-off from the canal flowed into the river.
Councilman Nutter's office was called and Arlene from his Ridge Avenue office offered assistance. She immediately called Marty Soffer, City Planning Commission, and the Deputy Chief of the Department of Licenses & Inspection (L&I). The Deputy Chief sent an inspector out.
Jane Glenn also called L & I. It took a couple of days to get through to the correct party. They reviewed the case but no notices have been posted. Jane also contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). Our concerns were assigned to the Soil & Waterway Management Program and we are awaiting their report. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers have also been notified.
Stella Ling has since moved to San Francisco. City ordinances are not being enforced. We contacted many public officials and agencies and still the fill remains.
Former address of site: 4382 Main Street
New address of site: 4460R and/or 4490R (lot 168 & lot 105?)
Frank Giovianoni - New owner
FEMA Region III, Stephanie Nixon -
Stephanie Nixon visited the site and took photos on July 3, 2000. She said that her next step will be to contact the city. I am awaiting a response.
Army Corp - Jackie Winkler
Said they did not handle floodway issues. This should not be true but we have not followed up with it.
PA DEP - Complaint # 153525
Dominic Rocco viewed the site on June 22. The owner, Giovianoni, was told to stabilize the banks. The owner said he would do it in a week. L&I also on him to do this. Another complaint 153690 was filed by another entity for this site. The cases were closed.
License & Inspections
Ms. Saunders - An inspector was sent out. The owner was told to stop construction but he was not told to remove the fill.
Letters were sent to the following public officials:
City Councilman Michael Nutter
Martin Soffer, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Dominic Verdi, Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections
Kathy Manderino, PA House of Representatives
State Senator Vincent Hughes
U. S. Representative Chaka Fattah