Hal Schirmer's blog

What's so great about a vacant lot?

I've had a chance to parse the new zoning code, and found some rather interesting changes in the language about how the City (well, City Council who writes the zoning code) views vacant lots.

Basically, they're bad news. Something to avoid.

However, with recent public dustups about vacant lots,
first in Point Breeze (vacant lot improved into park contrary to objections and warnings of the City),
second in Roxborough (demolition of a half block of 1800s homes to create, oh-boy, another vacant lot)

it does raise an interesting question
- is a vacant lot really, logically,
a "use of the property"?

It seems that it's exactly the opposite- an intentional NON-USE,
rather than any positive use.


Update -Bullworth67's "Schirmer files questionable appeals" - court holds Schirmer correct, and owner makes out better...


Submitted by Bulworth67 on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 9:08am.

An attorney named Hal Schirmer also files questionable zoning appeals against projects with overwhelming support from the community.
There are MANY others like them.

This law has been a boon to property owners, small businesses and developers who are doing responsible development and run afoul of zealots like Mr. Spahn and Mr. Schirmer who decide that it is their job to file zoning appeals, no matter what kind of support the project has.

Since I keep seeing this hit on Google, I feel it's necessary to set the record straight on this for past and future clients.

I believe the poster in 2007 was actually my opponent attorney on a zoning appeal,
Ultimately, the Courts held that we were absolutly right.

He lost. I won.

Oddly, four years later, HIS clients admits we did them a favor by filing the appeal....

Taking a fresh approach to the Rector St. rebuild project
April 5, 2011
By Amy Z. Quinn of PlanPhilly for NewsWorks

In 2008 -- just as a judge blocked the project from going forward again -- the residential market imploded, forcing Waxman and Barzilay to reconsider their options.

For as much as the legal battle cost in attorneys' fees, it's still a smaller loss than a half-empty apartment building would be today.
"Ironically, (opponents) did us the biggest favor," he said

So, my client won, his client won.

Only looser is the ego.


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