Bay window ban in Point Breeze could soon become law

Pat Loeb
June 09, 2019 - 4:00 am
Bay Window

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia City Council appears headed to approve a ban on bay windows and balconies in one neighborhood where there's a lot of new construction, possibly as early as Thursday, just three weeks after being introduced. 

A council committee approved the ban in Point Breeze last week.

The only testimony on the bill was from the Streets Department, which opposed the ban as a slippery slope.

"If this bill happens to pass, we are concerned that the restriction of bays and balconies within this isolated area will lead to an increase of encroachment ordinance requests, straining an already overburdened right-of-way unit."

But the bill's sponsor, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, asked his colleagues to overlook the objections. He said he introduced the bill on behalf of elderly constituents.

"I have all these seniors that will come to me and say, 'councilman, next door to my home, there's something that's not eye-appealing that doesn't fit in the natural characteristic of our actual neighborhood,'" Johnson said.

He says a fad for these features is undermining historic parts of his district.

"These monstrosity buildings with aluminum pop-out windows that could be green, orange blue in a nice Brownstone residential block," Johnson said.

Johnson has a delicate balancing act. New development has transformed Point Breeze in the last several years, attracting younger voters, but long-time residents fear gentrification. This bill seems to fit in the sweet spot, since bay windows have few passionate defenders.