THE COUNCIL CRIER
The Venice Island Issue...
Members of Manayunk Neighborhood Council, Friends of the Manayunk Canal, and Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association have been feverishly meeting to hammer out a draft development plan they would like to see put in place for Venice Island. MNC's results follow.
This Committee acknowledges that Venice Island almost entirely falls within the floodway of the Schuylkill River. We
firmly support the Local, State and Federal floodway regulations that prohibit new construction or development in the
floodway. However, to protect the interest of the community should those regulations be ignored we present the
following development plan.
Commercial, recreational, cultural, technological, and light industrial development can be permitted on the Island. A
Zoning Overlay will include the four major development parcels (Connelly, M.D.C., Venice Island Properties, and
Recreational & cultural development will proceed at a pace equal to commercial development on the Island.
A surcharge on for-profit development on the Island will fund development and maintenance of recreational and
cultural projects on the Island.
FAR ("Floor Area Ratio")
- FAR = 0.5.
- The ground level area below the regulatory 100-year flood level will not be counted towards the FAR limit.
- A combined cultural, entertainment, recreational and museum center for non-profit and for profit use will be
built on City-owned property at the lower end of the Island and will include ground level parking.
- The City-owned properties at the north and south tips of the Island will be passive park areas with no motor
- If the Smurfit-Stone Corporation property (all or part) is no longer used for industry, then the Planning
Commission will consult with the Manayunk residential and business communities about options for that
- Building design will reference architecturally the Island's historical precedents or what currently exists on the
- Buildings will be multi-height and will not exceed five stories in height.
- Building facades will use indigenous materials or reference existing facade materials.
- A 10' wide easement along the River for the entire length of the Island will be dedicated for a 6' wide
pedestrian walkway plus a 4' wide green buffer between the walkway and the River.
- The pedestrian walkway will have a permeable (non-paved) surface.
Setback from the Canal
- The proposed setback will be modified to use the inner edge of the rail bed, rather than the Canal, as the point
from which the setback is measured.
- Twenty-five percent of all properties will be dedicated to greenspace. The pedestrian walkway easement and the
setback from the Canal will be included in calculating the greenspace area.
- Developers will be required to provide plans to minimize the impact on the area traffic problems during the
construction phase of their projects. Penalties will result if developers fail to meet their traffic impact
- The City will be required (1) to outline what infrastructure improvements have to be made to accommodate all
proposed development on the Island (including the Green Lane Bridge) and (2) to fund those improvements and
schedule their completion before the completion of the development projects.
Simultaneous Development of Recreational & Cultural Facilities
- The City will proceed with the development of recreational and cultural facilities on the Island at a pace equal
to that of commercial development.
Surcharge for Auxiliary Development
- A surcharge of 3% of the total cost of for-profit development projects will be used to fund auxiliary public
development on the Island, akin to the surcharge for public art projects.
- All for-profit businesses on the Island (excluding Smurfit-Stone) will be assessed an annual levy sufficient for
the maintenance of the public projects on the Island.
Relocation of Parking
- The City will proceed, at a pace equal to that of commercial development, with the construction of a public
parking garage off the island to replace the parking lots on the Island.
- Signage restrictions similar to the Lower Main Street Zoning Overlay will be enacted for the Island.
- Signage on the River-side of properties will be prohibited.
- All commercial billboards (non-accessory signage) currently on the Island will be removed and new billboards
will be prohibited.
Parking Lot Screening
- Landscaping requirements for parking lots on the Island will be similar to those in the Lower Main Street
- Trees, at a ratio of one tree for every four parking spaces, will be planted in a screening buffer around parking
- Indigenous plant and tree species will be used in all public areas on the Island.
- All landscaping will be done with a budget for extended maintenance of the plantings.
Maintenance and Cleaning
- A maintenance plan for the Island will be implemented by Manayunk Special Services District, all for-profit
properties being paying participants in the District.
Emergency Evacuation Plans
- All development plans will include emergency evacuation plans for the eventuality of flooding on the Island.
- All emergency evacuation plans will be reviewed and updated annually
Questionnaire for Redevelopment of Venice Island
issues, should new
|Retail (restaurants, stores)?
|Industrial (light industry)?
|Regional Recreation (boat
and bike rentals, skating
|Local Recreation (enlarge VI
Recreation Center, parks)?
|Passive Recreation (natural
|Should development on
Venice Island be prohibited
due to its location in the
floodway of the Schuylkill
|Overall do you favor
development on Venice
What amount of development should be allowed? (circle one)
a. None (If industries leave, do not replace them)
b. Minimal (Allow reuse of existing buildings only)
c. Medium (Allow development with an equal mix of greenspace)
d. Maximum (Cover the island with development)
Please give your street block address (e.g. 100 block Gay St):
Please mail to Manayunk Neighborhood Council, PO Box 4667, Philadelphia, PA 19127 or drop in North Light's
mail slot at 175 Green Lane.