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Nutter, Clarke To Unveil Dueling Plans For L&I

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke today are unveiling separate and competing proposals to reshape the structure of city government -- spurred by last year's building collapse on Market Street.

Mayor Nutter is expected to release the recommendations of a task force he created after the Market Street tragedy.  The chief recommendation will be a restructuring of the city administration, so that the Department of Licenses and Inspections is split in two.

One new department would oversee all demolition and construction in the city.  The other would handle L&I's other functions like permitting.

Not coincidentally, Council President Darrell Clarke is laying out his own plan to reshape government by going in the other direction.  He wants a single new cabinet level "Department of Planning and Development."  It would take over all of L&I functions but also those of the Planning and Historical Commissions, the Office of Housing and Community Development and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

In all, this mega-department would oversee licenses, inspections, enforcement, planning and zoning.  Clarke believes this new structure would significantly improve how the city manages planning and development.

Both Clarke's plan and the task force plan to split L&I would require changes to the City Charter, which would have to be approved both by City Council and voters in a ballot referendum.

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