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City Council approves zoning bill
for Queen Lane Reservoir
adequate community safeguards

City Council approves zoning bill for Queen Lane Reservoir WITHOUT  Community safeguards

Where we are now

On May 23rd 2024, Philadelphia City Council approved legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Jones, to change the zoning of the 110-acre Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant from Residential to Civic Use. (RSA-1 & 2 to SP-CIV). This legislation was requested by The Philadelphia Water Department in late 2022.

The bill that passed did not include the stronger amendments nor the community agreement sought by us.

Under the current residential zoning of the property, EFCC and neighbors had input into conditions along the borders and public face of the facility along the public right of way, i.e., public sidewalks and roads. This is how in 2010 neighbors were able to negotiate improvements as the utility upgraded the security lighting and fencing of the site along with substantial landscape buffers that the PWD would not otherwise have provided or be legally required to do so.


East Fallsers gathered to ask Councilman Curtis Jones to protect the community

Thank you for your support!

150+ friends and neighbors gathered at the Wissahickon Brewing Co. on May 1st to ask Councilman Curtis Jones to withhold the re-zoning bill for the Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant until PWD enters into an enforceable agreement to preserve the community's quality of life before, during and after the decades-long demolition and reconstruction of the Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant.

Next Action Steps

Your continuing support is critical to our efforts. Without an agreement, PWD will be able to build or place anything they wish on the buffer areas between their facilities and the neighborhood. 

Sign the petition. 

Update as of April 29, 2024

The rezoning bill advances…
but we still do not have an agreement.

On Monday, April 8th, the East Falls Community Council appeared at a hearing of City Council’s Rules Committee to testify in provisional opposition to the rezoning of the Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant, because no community protections are yet in place. As explained below, the Rules Committee, after hearing everyone’s testimony, adopted a compromise position. As this plays out over the next period of time, we continue our advocacy, including by having a community Happy Hour at the Wissahickon Brewing Co., on Wednesday, May 1st, from 6-8.  Please mark your calendars.

At Monday’s Rules Committee hearing, the two sides asked for different things.  EFCC asked the Committee to hold the bill until community protections can be put in place. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) asked the Committee to vote the bill out of committee and to “suspend the rules,” which means the bill receive an expedited final vote by the full Council next week and be sent promptly to Mayor Parker’s desk. i.e. No binding agreement to community protections—the exact opposite to what was promised by PWD during meetings in 2023.


So what happened? Well, at the request of our District Councilmember, Curtis Jones, Jr., the Rules Committee voted the bill out of committee, but it did not vote to “suspend the rules.” The result is that, while the bill has been voted out of committee, Councilmember Jones can now use his discretion about how fast the bill gets to the full City Council.  He said he wants to check with the Planning Commission and the Law Department to see if some enforceability can be obtained and he wants to give the parties more time to negotiate.  We can’t say exactly what his thinking is. We continue to ask him to tell PWD to do better. 

There was a moment at the hearing when the PWD Commissioner testified that PWD “is not required” to give the community any binding commitments.  That remark was not embraced by the members of the Committee, who emphasized that the demolition and rebuilding of the plant would take perhaps a decade to accomplish, compromising the quality of life and property values of East Falls residents.

What sort of protections are we seeking? We are seeking limits on bright lights spilling illumination outside the facility; appropriate fencing (i.e., a commitment to have new fencing match the single picket fencing that exists along Queen Lane, which we fought for years ago); sufficient landscaped buffers along the perimeter; keeping the historic stone walls, which provide defining character to this area; sound attenuation measures; and several other requirements.


We need your help to keep up the activism. We are having a community happy two hours at Wissahickon Brewing Co. on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, from 6-8pm. Please make every effort to attend. There will be no admission fee. The goal is to show our solidarity and our shared concerns, we will provide any new updates. Enjoy some local brew and neighborly camaraderie. 


Please continue to ask friends to sign the online petition.  Our lawn signs are still going strong, so please make sure you have yours and that your neighbors do, too. 


We thank you and look forward to having a beer with you on May 1st.

The demolition & reconstruction of the Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant is coming!


The Philadelphia Water Department is about to embark on a multi-decade, multi-million-dollar project to demolish and reconstruct the Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant which will impact the residents of East Falls for decades to come.


For over 6 months, the Zoning Committee and community members have been trying to negotiate a binding agreement with PWD that addresses the neighbor’s concerns. But, PWD has been unwilling to commit.


In the meanwhile, PWD has moved forward with a request to change the site’s zoning which will enable them to proceed without any community input.


Support our efforts to have our voices heard.

Sign the petition. 

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