Cobbs Creek Golf Course
West Philadelphia - Clear-cutting of over 100 acres of woodlands, riparian buffers and wetlands at the Cobbs Creek Golf Course brings a new threat of flooding to downstream residents and the environment in West Philadelphia. A developer, prior to receiving permission, clear-cut approximately 500 large (24” DBH and larger) trees. The same developer, the Cobbs Creek Foundation, is now seeking from the City Planning Commission (PCPC) to cut even more trees on steep slopes that could easily make flooding even worse. What is NOT surprising is that the City of Philadelphia is supportive of it!
The Darby and Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia and Delaware County is one of the most flood prone, flashy watersheds in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Floodwaters routinely rise-up so frequently that it’s a common site to see sandbags stacked alongside homes ready to be deployed in front of garages and basement doors to prevent flood damage. Where is this flooding so prevalent? In the Overbrook, Kingsessing and Eastwick communities where predominantly people-of-color reside.
The flooding of the Darby and Cobbs is not new - it has been going on for decades. The City of Philadelphia knows it. The City just up-dated their All Hazard Mitigation Plan where flooding was noted to be one of the prominent threats to the City’s well-being. The flooding of the Darby/Cobbs in Eastwick even got its own chapter (OEM Section 188.8.131.52)
There are two primary but separate issues with the development process of the Cobbs Creek Golf Course. The first is the destruction of the riparian buffer which now, obviously, needs to be restored and mitigated. In addition to the tree loss, 20+/- acres of wetlands were destroyed. The second is the developer’s attempt to get further approval from the City of Philadelphia Planning Commission to clear even more trees off upland steep slopes.
DRN has partnered with several talented and focused grass-roots groups in West Philly and Eastwick. Towns in Delaware County are also concerned about this new source of floodwaters.
DRN recently submitted extensive comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise the alarm that this developer is now seeking to cut more trees down at this site and that the Corps may not be aware of. DRN’s comment also addresses the the developer should not be allowed to profit off their destruction of the floodplain, riparian buffer and wetlands by selling-off mitigation credits to other developments elsewhere (i.e. mitigation credits). DRN and partners are also preparing to argue against the PCPC’s approval of a re-zoning measure that would allow for a steep-slope overlay zone (PCPC Zoning Bill No. 220918) that would allow more tree clearing and more flooding.