Point Breeze Eminent Domain Bill Passes

Part on ongoing debate on affordable housing in Philadelphia


Those speaking out against the city's plan, passed in Council this morning, to take by eminent domain 17 privately owned properties in Point Breeze (including some owned and supposedly set for ground-breaking by an active area developer) argued that the scheme represented a flawed and inefficient approach to affordable housing in Philadelphia.

"Bill 120755 is not a housing bill: It's a vacant property bill," developer Ori Feibush, who has said he owns some of the properties in question — but who is not on record as owning any of the properties, according to Yvette Ousley, director of communications at Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office. "You keep saying the word, 'affordable,'" Johnson said. He told Council if they meant it they should attach a maximum sale value to the bill, ensuring the houses developed on the land would actually be affordable. He pointed out that four "affordable" houses in the neighborhood are currently on the market for $250,000 or more.