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This Zoning Code is the first comprehensive revision to Philadelphia's zoning laws in nearly 50 years. The earlier code, dating from 1963, was updated in 1991 when the zoning rules governing Center City were significantly reformulated. However, most modifications to the Zoning Code have occurred in small increments or through a myriad of individual ordinances and overlays, resulting in a very complicated document that was increasingly unable to meet the demands of an evolving city. In 2007, the voters of the City decided to create a Zoning Code Commission and charged this 31-member body with the task of writing a new Zoning Code. The result is this Zoning Code. It is enacted to guide the land use and development of the City and in so doing, promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of its citizens and visitors. The provisions of the Zoning Code are designed to achieve the following goals. With these goals in mind, the members of the Zoning Code Commission intend for this to be a living document that will propel the City of Philadelphia to a higher quality of life. 2
(a) Protecting the access of each property to adequate light, air, street frontage, and other public amenities;
(b) Promoting adjacencies of appropriate uses and conversely, discouraging or disallowing adjacencies of uses that should be separated;
(c) Protecting the desirable characteristics of the City's neighborhoods;
(d) Preserving and enhancing the public realm, including the streetscape and the pedestrian environment;
(e) Promoting and maintaining a balanced mix of housing choices; and
(f) Encouraging development that is consistent with the goals and objectives of the City's Comprehensive Plan.
(a) Encouraging development around nodes of mass transit;
(b) Supporting the City's sustainability goals to reduce vehicle miles traveled, encourage renewable energy and energy conservation, encourage water conservation, allow urban food production, promote walking and community health, and allow the City to operate more efficiently; and
(c) Restoring and conserving the City's natural and historic resources.
(a) Encouraging revitalization of deteriorated and/or vacant properties;
(b) Establishing opportunities to locate appropriate businesses near a base of employees and locate services with ready access to residents; and
(c) Removing barriers to enable responsible development to proceed ‘as of right.'
(a) Establishing a single city-wide process in which projects that require relief from the rules of this Zoning Code, or projects deemed to have high impact on their surrounding community, benefit from organized community input offered in a timely manner;
(b) Presenting this code in well-organized hard copy and digital formats, with text written in plain English and easily read charts and illustrations; and
(c) Developing appropriate supporting regulations in the City agencies that administer this document.
Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).