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March 14, 2016

Philadelphia City Council to hear proposal for 'housing impact fee' on new development

Purpose is to safeguard against pushing out existing, low-income and longtime residents

Development City Council
Carroll - Devil's Pocket Neighborhood Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Ed Foster, 83, moved to the 2600 block of Catharine Street from Fairmount more than 60 years ago. Asked about changes in the neighborhood, Foster replied, "Now there are more dogs and less kids!"

Philadelphia City Council will hear a proposal to tack on a "housing impact fee" to new development. 

The purpose, according to NewsWorks, is to protect against pushing out existing, low-income and longtime city residents.

As NewsWorks explains, under the "impact fee," developers would pay between $1.10 and $4.80 per square foot of new market-rate houses and rental units, which could generate "between $3.4 million and $12.2 million" for the city's Housing Trust Fund to help build and maintain affordable housing.

"Between 2000 and 2012, in the gentrifying portions of West, South and North Philadelphia, housing prices skyrocketed, while incomes shrank," a recent report from the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities found. "During that same timeframe, the African-American population in those neighborhoods decreased by 22%-29%. Meanwhile, the Caucasian population increased."

The "housing impact fee" is one of several ideas advocates are proposing to Philadelphia City Council members to hopefully double the Housing Trust Fund, NewsWorks reports.

Read the full NewsWorks report here.