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UPDATE 2/7/2023: 

Following the publication of The City Planning Commission’s final recommendations on October 28, 2021, West Central Germantown Neighbors suggested additional zoning map changes. The City Planning Commission has worked with WCGN to adopt most of their suggested changes. The revised recommendations are here:    

Printable Maps  (revised February 7, 2023)

Interactive Map  (revised February 7, 2023)

Revisions Table  (revised February 7, 2023)

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 (Revised February 7, 2023)

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.   


Between August 1 and September 10, 2021, we hosted a “Virtual Open House” to gather community feedback on the draft recommendations. We received letters from three RCOs, along with dozens of comments on the interactive map, by phone, and by email.  

Read a summary of the comments

Read all comments 


Between September 10 and September 27, 2021, we worked with community partners to revise the recommendations. The revised recommendations were posted on September 27.  

Highlights from the revised recommendations include: 


  • The special off-street parking, façade review, and use requirements that we initially recommended for Germantown Avenue are broadly supported and will remain in our recommendation. 

  • We now recommend CMX-2 for most properties on Germantown Avenue (instead of CMX-2.5). 

  • We now recommend that the Settlement Music School property currently zoned RSA-3, at 6128 Germantown Avenue, remain RSA-3. 

  • We modified the recommendations for the unit blocks of West Rittenhouse, Haines, and Harvey Streets to better match existing uses. 

  • We incorporated several recommendations made by West Central Germantown Neighbors into our proposal. 

Download a detailed table of revisions


On October 7, 2021, we hosted a virtual public meeting. 172 people registered for the meeting, and about 100 attended. Participants viewed a presentation on the remapping project, and then broke into small groups to discuss the process and the recommendations. Facilitators recorded comments and questions on a shared screen, and then reported comments back to the full group. 

View the presentation 

Read a transcript from the meeting

View the shared comment boards 

Watch a video recording of the full meeting

Based on feedback from the October 7 public meeting and subsequent comments, we made another round of revisions. 


View a table of revisions made following the October 7 meeting

On October 28, 2021, PCPC issued zoning recommendations. West Central Germantown Neighbors, one of the participating community organizations, responded with a list of proposed amendments to PCPC’s recommendations. Between the spring and fall of 2022, PCPC worked with WCGN and Councilmember Bass to incorporate these suggested changes into the recommendations. 

On February 7, 2023, PCPC issued revised recommendations.

View a table of revisions made in response to WCGN’s suggestions

For more information, please contact: 

Ian Hegarty, Upper Northwest District Planner, or 215-683-4672.   

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