The New Philadelphia Zoning Bible
Time is getting closer and closer to throw the old bible out.
Here's the new one:
When does all this take effect? August 22.
This one is a much easier read than to read the City law website (if you suspect a clause you're looking at may have been amended, go to the City law website to double-check the language).
This bible includes drawings and also maps of every special controls district (aka "overlay") in Philadelphia. If you ever run into a zoning problem, the answer will always be in this book. Always.
The section of the Zoning code on Signs was not messed-with during the new zoning code re-write. It's being done separately. When the changes pass, that section of this document will be out of date. PCPC is getting closer to completion of the new sign code.
The most oft-asked question is what are the new categories and lot dimensions, so here's that:
LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL DIMENSIONS
HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL DIMENSIONS
Probably worth noting that the overlays are (mostly) going away, even though they're in the code now. Most of them (Germantown Ave, Passyunk, etc.) are going to be converted to CMX2.5, which will have most of the same controls (but not all: restaurants no longer need certificates for example).
This is a big improvement over the old code, and it is a lot easier to use on its face (as shown in the above dimensional tables).
But as you dig down deeper it gets really complicated, mainly because of all of the overlays and fine print of the old code that were carried over to the new code.
There are also going to be some tough growing pains over at L&I and ZBA with regard to process and administration. There are also a lot of loose ends with things such as Registered Community Organizations and the Civic Design Review. The first year is going to be really tough. But it needed to be done.
I just hope that City Council doesn't butcher this thing to the point where in 5 years it looks no different from the old zoning code.
Several times, I've read suggestions that when the new zoning book goes into effect in August, it will be harder for NIMBY's to assassinate every good idea, as is their wont. If that's the case, does anyone see how?
The new zoning code makes development rights slightly permissive. 38' heights instead of 35'. More rights to modify noncomforming properties. Less mandated parking. etc. It will help eliminate trips to the ZBA for more minor changes. It also provides a better system of FAR bonuses for high density districts.
Originally Posted by OffenseTaken
It won't help anyone who wants to use their parcel for purposes or densities out of character with their zoning. Remapping is the tool to fix that. Neighbors are given a lot of power for variances because variances are supposed to show hardship that their parcel cannot be used under its current zoning and therefore need relief. That has the ZBA's decision instead of making the process more of a legal process (like relief from historical preservation). Variances are not a tool to choose a better project. Make sure you go to the District Planning meetings to advocate for more density in your neighborhood so that important parcels will be remapped for projects.
Last edited by gren; 05-21-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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