December 9th GCCA Zoning Meeting: Presentation - Racism, Zoning, and Segregation

Garden Court has a regularly scheduled zoning and development committee meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, December 9th. There are no pending zoning cases, but we this month we're excited have a thought-provoking and timely presentation by one of our committee members on the intersection of racism, zoning, and segregation. We are still meeting virtually, via Zoom; log-in detail are at the bottom of this post.


Zoning today regulates the dimensions of new construction and what uses are permitted on any particular property. It is commonly understood that zoning was introduced primarily to separate noxious land uses from residential areas and that the regulation that followed promote public health, safety and welfare, but history shows there were also more sinister motivations and that the effects have been damaging to the social fabric. At our next meeting, Leonard Bonarek will give a brief presentation (prepared by Lyle Solla-Yates, a Planning Commissioner in Charlottesville VA, researcher, and IT professional at the School of Architecture at UVA) that highlights the racist inception of zoning, from the original Supreme Court decision that banned racial covenants to the court's finding that upheld zoning several years later.


Meeting Agenda:

  • Approval of October meeting minutes

  • Zoning cases: none

  • Report: outdoor dining applications last month

  • Report: by-right permits granted this month

  • Report: any status updates for ongoing projects of significance (4900 Spruce, 4701 Pine, 303 S. 51st, 314 S 46th Street)

  • Working groups* updates, if any

  • Presentation: Racism, Segregation, and Zoning (Leonard Bonarek)

  • Public Comment

  • Committee Working Session (closed)

  • Next Meeting: January 13th, 2021

*GCCA zoning has established two working groups on subjects outside our general work flow of reviewing zoning cases assigned by the councilperson's office - 1. affordability; 2. historic district. The first is looking at what practical things GCCA, in its capacity as a volunteer-run RCO, can do to address housing affordability in the neighborhood. The second is working to identify an historic district to consider nominating to the local register. When ready, the working groups will present material publicly and may gather feedback/input; any actions/decisions will be made by vote of the full committee. Stay tuned!


As always, our meetings are public and open for anyone to attend; if you are interested in receiving email updates from the Zoning Committee, or are interested in joining when there is an opening, please email Zoning@GardenCourtCA.org - not yet a GCCA member? Join here!


Details for Joining the Meeting:


Time:  Dec 9, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Direct Link: https://upenn.zoom.us/j/91979124404?pwd=Q3pYOFpLenBTQW95Sm9aMTRzRmt3dz09

or dial in to: +1-646-558-8656 or +1-301-715-8592 additional numbers at: https://upenn.zoom.us/u/ahHOJpCyM Meeting ID: 919 7912 4404 Passcode: GCCAzoning


Public participants will need to "raise their hand" to be un-muted and ask questions or make comment. GCCA Zoning's regular rules of decorum will apply.

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