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Remapping Germantown Avenue in Mount Airy

Wednesday, March 27 at 7pm

New Covenant Church sanctuary

7500 Germantown Avenue

What is the meeting about?

Germantown Avenue, Mount Airy’s main street, is attracting new housing and businesses.

The City Planning Commission proposes zoning changes on Germantown Ave. The goal of these changes is predictable development that fits the community’s vision in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

What is zoning?

Zoning controls the size and shape of new buildings and how they are used

How do I get involved?

Attend the meeting and give your feedback:

Wednesday, March 27 at 7pm

New Covenant Church Sanctuary

7500 Germantown Avenue

The meeting is hosted by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Mount Airy Business Improvement District (BID).

What's in the proposal?

The proposed changes focus on Germantown Avenue from Johnson Street to Cresheim Valley Drive. The zoning changes will create consistent rules about the size and shape of new buildings.

In addition, special rules are proposed for building design and parking that are custom-tailored to the neighborhood.

These new zoning rules will establish a strong framework for preserving the Avenue’s feel while welcoming new jobs and residents. Getting the zoning right on Germantown Avenue today will benefit the neighborhood for years to come.

Let’s break the proposal down:

1. Zoning Map Changes

The proposed changes will make the zoning map more consistent.

Properties clustered together will have similar zoning rules. The size and shape of new buildings will be more predictable as a result.

In general, we used the CMX-2 Commercial Mixed-Use district as the standard for Germantown Avenue from Johnson Street to Sedgwick Street and from Allens Lane to Cresheim Valley Drive.

In the heart of the Mount Airy business district between Sedgwick and Allens, we propose CMX-2.5. Read more about what the different zoning districts mean in our Zoning Quick Reference Guide [PDF}.

2. Building Design Approval

We heard loud and clear from neighbors that Germantown Avenue’s buildings are unique and treasured.

We also know from examples throughout the region that strong businesses depend on strong design.

Friendly building scale and design give Germantown Avenue an edge over suburban shopping centers.

That’s why we propose that new buildings and alterations will need Planning Commission approval for facade (front of building) design. Currently, other important commercial streets require such approval, such as portions of Chestnut and Walnut Streets in Center City.

3. Corner Lots and Historic Properties

The zoning code requires commercial uses, such as stores and offices, on the ground (first) floors of buildings in the Commercial Mixed-Used districts CMX-2 and CMX-2.5.

But many lots on Germantown Avenue wrap around to side streets. We propose that the commercial-use requirement will only apply to the Germantown Avenue side of the building.

This provision will focus commercial activity on the Avenue.

Properties listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places will be exempt entirely from ground floor use requirements, to remove hurdles to investing in historic buildings.

4. Parking

Recent residential projects have demonstrated a need for reasonable off-street parking requirements. Off-street parking is parking that is not on the street, such as parking lots, and garages.

We’re proposing off-street parking for projects with 20 or more apartments or condos at a reasonable ratio of 1 space for every 3 housing units.

for more details:

Download the draft zoning change maps [PDF] that will be presented at the public meeting.

What happens next?

Our staff will be on hand to hear comments at the public meeting on March 27th.

Then we’ll make changes based on your feedback before preparing the final bill for introduction at City Council.

Questions? Contact:

Ian Hegarty, Community Planner

Philadelphia City Planning Commission



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