(3)   Zoning Map and Text Amendments.
{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}
(a)   Applicability.
The zoning map and text amendment procedures of this subsection apply to ordinances for amendments to the text of this Zoning Code and to amendments to the official zoning map.
(b)   Review by the Commission.
(.1)   No ordinance amending the text of this Zoning Code or amending the official zoning map shall be adopted by City Council unless it is first reviewed by the Commission, except as provided in Section 2-307 of The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.
(.2)   Notice of any public meeting of the Commission on a zoning ordinance shall be provided by the Commission as set forth in § 14-303(13) (Public Notice).
(.3)   The Commission shall forward to City Council, through the Mayor's office, a recommendation for approval, approval with changes, or disapproval of the ordinance based on whether it meets the criteria in § 14-304(3)(d) (Criteria for Review) or § 14-304(3)(e) (Special Provisions for Master Plan Districts). 210
(c)   Action by City Council.
The City Council shall consider the ordinance in the manner set forth in the Home Rule Charter. As established by Section 2-307 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, the City Council shall not act until it has referred the proposed ordinance to the Commission for comment and waited at least 45 days following the introduction of any ordinance affecting land subdivision plans and at least 30 days following the introduction of any other zoning ordinance to receive the Commission's recommendation on the ordinance. Such periods may be extended by the Commission, as provided in Section 2-307 of The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter. City Council may approve, approve with changes, or disapprove the ordinance, regardless of the recommendation of the Commission.
(d)   Criteria for Review.
The Commission shall consider the following criteria when making its recommendation that the ordinance be approved or approved with changes:
(.1)   Whether the ordinance is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan;
(.2)   Whether the ordinance is consistent with other plans adopted by the City as amendments to the Comprehensive Plan for the area affected by the ordinance;
(.3)   Whether the adoption of the ordinance is in the best interest of the City;
(.4)   Whether the impacts of the ordinance on areas surrounding the land affected by the ordinance will be positive and whether any negative impacts are unavoidable or will be mitigated to the extent reasonable; and
(.5)   If the ordinance proposes a new overlay district, whether the same result cannot be achieved more easily through amendments to an existing base or overlay district or the text of this Zoning Code.
(e)   Special Provisions for Master Plan Districts.
Table 14-304-1: Master Plan Districts
{For printable PDF version, click HERE}
District Name
Previously Known As
Residential Mixed-Use - 1 (RMX-1)
Residential Mixed-Use - 2 (RMX-2)
Institutional Development (SP-INS)
Entertainment (SP-ENT)
Sports Stadium District (SP-STA)
(.1)   Master Plan Districts Generally.
The procedures of this § 14-304(3)(e)(.1) apply to the master plan districts listed in Table 14-304-1, other than the SP-ENT, Entertainment (Special Purpose) District. See § 14-304(3)(e)(.2) below for procedures relating to the SP-ENT, Entertainment (Special Purpose) District.
(.a)   Before any rezoning of such land into that district and any change to the official zoning map may become effective, City Council shall approve by ordinance a master plan for the development of that land. 211
(.b)   Any ordinance proposing the designation of any lands into a master plan district shall be reviewed and approved as described in either subsection (i) or (ii), below.
(i)   The ordinance may be accompanied by a master plan for the area to be rezoned that meets the requirements of this Zoning Code. In this case, the ordinance and master plan shall be reviewed concurrently, any recommendation by the Commission shall address both the ordinance and plan, any action by City Council shall address both the ordinance and the plan, and the rezoning and master plan shall become effective immediately upon City Council action.
(ii)   As an alternative to subsection (i), above, City Council may approve the amendment without approving a master plan. In this case, the amendment shall not become effective until a master plan for the property has been submitted, the Commission has reviewed that plan and made a recommendation to City Council, and City Council has approved a master plan pursuant to this Zoning Code.
(.c)   Any master plan submitted for approval must: 212
(i)   Contain the information required by the regulations of the Commission; and
(ii)   Complete the civic design procedures set forth in § 14-304(5) (Civic Design Review), except that major amendments to master plans shall only be subject to civic design review as required by the regulations of the Commission and minor amendments shall not be required to complete civic design review.
(.d)   The Commission is authorized to consult with other City agencies in its consideration of and recommendations for Master Plan approval.
(.2)   SP-ENT, Entertainment (Special Purpose) District.
The procedures of this § 14-304(3)(e)(.2) apply to the SP-ENT, Entertainment (Special Purpose) District.
(.a)   The owner of any lot within a proposed or adopted SP-ENT district may submit to the Commission a proposed master plan for the Commission's review and recommendation. The master plan must contain the information required by the regulations of the Commission.
(.b)   The Commission shall review and approve the proposed master plan if it finds that the master plan is (1) consistent with the purposes of the SP-ENT district, (2) otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this Zoning Code applicable to the SP-ENT district, and (3) otherwise appropriate in terms of scale, density, accessibility, and design for the neighborhood where it is located.
(.c)   City Council shall designate, by ordinance, such SP-ENT districts in such areas as City Council deems appropriate. For each such district, such designations shall become effective upon the adoption of an ordinance designating the district boundaries; and the approval by the Commission of a master plan for the district pursuant to § 14-304(3)(e)(.1)(.b) above. Upon the designation becoming effective, the underlying zoning classification for all lots within the district shall be superseded, and no permits shall be issued for any use within the district other than as permitted by the approved master plan and this Zoning Code.
(.d)   In the event that the owner of a lot within an SP-ENT district submits a proposed master plan to the Commission and the Commission fails to approve, disapprove, or table consideration of it within 45 days after submission, it will be deemed approved by the Commission.
(f)   Special Provisions for Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts.
(.1)   A petition requesting that the Commission initiate the process towards creating an /NCO district shall be filed with the Commission either (1) by a Local Registered Community Organization located within the proposed /NCO district, or (2) containing the signatures of at least thirty percent (30%) of all property owners or at least thirty percent (30%) of all owners of owner- occupied housing units located within the proposed /NCO district. The petition shall include a draft map of /NCO district boundaries and draft design guidelines that would apply to the /NCO district.
(.2)   The Commission shall establish, by regulation, the criteria for accepting a petition to create an /NCO district. Upon review and acceptance of a petition, the Commission shall convene at least one public meeting within the /NCO district's proposed boundaries in order to seek public comment on the proposed /NCO district and design guidelines. 213
(.3)   City Council shall not enact any ordinance creating an /NCO district if, by the date of the City Council public hearing, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of all property owners or fifty-one percent (51%) of all owners of owner-occupied housing units located within the proposed /NCO district have filed in writing with the Clerk of Council a statement of opposition to creation of the /NCO district. Those written statements may include petitions with multiple signatures opposing the creation of the /NCO district.
(.4)   City Council shall consider the proposed /NCO district ordinance, design guidelines, and map in the same manner as other zoning ordinances, but shall not approve or approve with changes a proposed /NCO district unless it finds that the proposed /NCO district area has a consistent physical character as a result of a concentration of residential buildings of similar character or a continuity established by an overall plan. The City Council decision shall not include any areas within the /NCO district that were not included in the proposed boundaries of the /NCO district as set forth in the map attached to the proposed ordinance.
(.5)   The boundaries of an /NCO district may be amended using the same procedures used to create the district. 214
(g)   Pending Ordinance Doctrine. 215
(.1)   Definitions.
(.a)   A "pending ordinance" is any bill not yet enacted into law that would amend either the Zoning Code or the Zoning Maps, if a Committee of Council has voted to report the bill and the bill remains under active consideration. 216
(.b)   A bill "remains under active consideration" if either:
(i)   not more than four meetings of Council have passed since the date of the Committee vote to report the bill;
(ii)   no later than the fourth meeting of Council after the date of the Committee vote to report the bill, Council has adopted a resolution declaring that the bill remains under active consideration, in which case the bill shall be considered under active consideration until such date as Council sets forth in the resolution or six months after the date of the Committee vote to report the bill, whichever date is earlier; or
(iii)   the bill has been passed by the Council and the time for the bill to become law under Section 2-202 of the Home Rule Charter has not yet passed.
(.2)   L&I (in reviewing any application for a zoning permit) or the Zoning Board (on any appeal to the Board) shall apply any applicable provision of any bill that had become a pending ordinance at or before the time when the application was filed with L&I, as if the bill had become law, but only to the extent that such provision is more restrictive than the applicable provision of this Zoning Code or zoning maps, except that this § 14-304(3)(h)(.2) shall not apply if either:
(.a)   the bill has been withdrawn by a vote of the Council;
(.b)   the bill has been defeated on a final passage vote;
(.c)   the bill has been disapproved by the Mayor and the time for further consideration by Council has expired; or
(.d)   the bill provides for an effective date subsequent to the date it becomes law or contingent upon an event that has not yet occurred.
(.3)   In giving effect to a pending ordinance, L&I and the Board shall give effect to the bill as it may be amended from time to time by the Council or by a Committee of Council.



   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
   Amended, Bill No. 130804 (approved December 18, 2013).
   Amended, Bill No. 150766 (approved December 8, 2015).
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
   Former subsection (3)(g) deleted and former subsection (3)(h) renumbered, Bill No. 170162 (approved July 11, 2017).
   Amended, Bill No. 120431 (approved June 27, 2012), effective August 22, 2012.