UPDATE 10/15/2021: Scroll down to the Public Zoning Change Process for a recording of the October 7 public meeting.
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 September 27, 2021)
View an interactive map (Revised September 27, 2021)
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, 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 all comments [pdf]
Between September 10 and September 27, 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.
On October 7, 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 [pdf]
Based on feedback from the October 7 public meeting and subsequent comments, we are making one more round of revisions before submitting PCPC’s zoning recommendations to City Council for consideration. The final revised recommendations will be posted here by October 29.
For more information, please contact:
Ian Hegarty, Upper Northwest District Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-683-4672.
* These dates depend on when the bill is introduced by City Council. We will update the table as information becomes available.