After twice being told to come back with more-detailed plans, the Cobbs Creek Foundation is again on the Philadelphia Art Commission’s calendar — for Wednesday, September 14, at 9:30 AM. At that time the foundation will present plans for buildings on the golf courses at Cobbs Creek, 350 acres of land the foundation has leased from the City for $1 over 30 years, and where the clearing of about 100 acres of trees has sparked resistance from community members.
Much of a July 29 presentation to the Art Commission consisted of community members making comments about the golf course (with most opposing it, but some voicing support). The commission gave a conceptual approval for one set of the buildings proposed for the site but requested that the foundation more thoroughly account for the environmental impact of the project and prepare more detailed plans to mediate the impact. This followed an April 13 meeting at which the Art Commission had asked the foundation to come back with more-complete plans.
Those plans include what appear to be permit applications to clear trees on steep slopes. Philadelphia law requires that developers get special approval by the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to clear trees on steep slopes, since without trees such slopes are vulnerable to increased erosion. The foundation did not clear trees on the slopes in question in the initial round of logging at the beginning of the year. After encountering community resistance, the foundation put their plans to seek special approval for clearing trees on steep slopes on hold. The appearance of the permit application documents in the foundation’s presentation to the Art Commission indicates that they are again seeking permission to clear the trees.