Kenney and Council clash over Society Hill zoning bill veto

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued the first official veto of his five years in office last week, rejecting a bill that would have given Society Hill special zoning restrictions.

The bill is one of six the mayor refused to sign at the end of his first term last December, killing them with what's known as a "pocket veto." The bill's sponsor, Councilman Mark Squilla, promptly reintroduced it.

This time, Kenney wrote in a letter to Society Hill Civic Association president Larry Spector, he is vetoing it outright because it works against the city's goals on a number of issues including affordable housing, historic preservation and climate change. Spector said his points might be valid in theory, but doesn't believe him.

"There is no way those are the real impetus for the veto," said Spector. "The veto is to allow big money developers to cash in on a unique setting in the 200 block of Walnut Street."

A controversial 15-story hotel has been proposed for that block. In the zoning bill, a height limit would prohibit it.

Squilla is confident City Council will override the veto on T