The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is working with community groups to update zoning rules in northern Germantown, roughly from Rittenhouse Street to Johnson Street between Wissahickon and Chew Avenues.  

We would like to thank these community organizations for helping to spread the word about this effort.  

  • Faith Community Development Corporation 

  • West Central Germantown Neighbors 

  • The Mount Airy Business Improvement District 

  • The 6300 Germantown Avenue Business Alliance

  • Germantown United Community Development Corporation 

  • Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club 

  • Duval Improvement Association 

  • Pomona-Cherokee Civic Council 

What is Zoning? 

Zoning is a set of rules for new buildings and major changes to existing buildings. Zoning rules control the size and shape of buildings and what they can be used for.  Become familiar with Philadelphia’s Zoning Districts with our Zoning Quick Guide

or watch a short introduction to zoning, below. 

Why are Changes Proposed? 

PCPC is working to update zoning in neighborhoods throughout the city. Zoning has not changed in most of northern Germantown for over forty years. The proposed changes meet community goals for how the neighborhoods should grow. Your neighbors helped define these goals in the Upper Northwest District Plan in 2018. 


What are the Proposed Changes? 

The proposal replaces some zoning districts with new ones. These changes will:  

  • Support Germantown Avenue with new businesses and homes;  

  • Correct the zoning in residential areas so that the sizes and shapes of existing buildings no longer conflict with the zoning;

  • Limit housing in areas that flood along Belfield Avenue.

Overlay Zoning Districts create special zoning rules for a specific area. PCPC is also proposing an Overlay Zoning District for buildings that face Germantown Avenue. The proposed Overlay will:  

  • Allow the City Planning Commission to review and approve the appearance of new buildings (facade review fact sheet);   

  • Require new buildings with ten or more apartments or condos to have a parking lot or a garage;  

  • Remove the requirement for a commercial use on the first floor for historic buildings;  

  • Prevent some new car-oriented businesses from opening.  

Download printable maps

View an interactive map

Public Zoning Change Process 

We are committed to listening to residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. PCPC will revise the proposal to meet community needs and propose compromises to resolve disagreement. 

We will host a “Virtual Open House” here on this web site, beginning on August 1 and running until September 10. You’ll be able to watch a video about the proposal and zoom in on proposed changes on an interactive zoning change map. Visitors can leave comments right on the map, or send comments by phone or email. We’ll update this web site regularly with materials as they become available.  

We will also be distributing fact sheets and flyers to our partner community groups and businesses on Germantown Avenue. If you work with an organization that would like to help distribute paper materials, please contact Ian Hegarty, Upper Northwest District Planner, at or 215-683-4672.  

After the Open Comment Period closes, we will work with community partners to revise the proposal and post the revisions here.  

Then, we’ll host an online public meeting in October. Based on feedback from the public meeting, we’ll make one more round of revisions before submitting the proposal to City Council for consideration.  


Links to all online meetings will be posted here as soon as they're announced.  

* These dates depend on when the bill is introduced by City Council. We will update the table as information becomes available.