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Rezoning Northern Germantown

This post appeared in February of 2020. Please click here for an update.

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is working with community groups to change zoning rules in Germantown. We want your input on these updates.

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.

Where are Changes Proposed?

Changes to the zoning rules are proposed in northern Germantown, roughly from Rittenhouse Street to Johnson Street between Wissahickon and Chew Avenues.

Why are Changes Proposed?

PCPC is working to update zoning in neighborhoods throughout the city. Zoning has not been updated in the Germantown area for more than four decades. The new proposed changes meet community goals for how the neighborhoods should grow. Your neighbors helped to define these goals in the Upper Northwest District Plan in 2018.

What are the Proposed Changes?

Some zoning districts will be replaced with new ones. These changes will:

  • Reinforce Germantown Avenue with new jobs and homes;

  • In residential areas, correct the zoning map to match existing buildings;

  • Limit housing construction in flood-prone areas along Belfield Avenue;

  • Stop heavy industry from moving in.

Download maps of existing and proposed zoning

View an interactive map of the proposed zoning changes

PCPC is also proposing an Overlay zoning district for Germantown Avenue. This will add special rules for new buildings that face Germantown Avenue. The proposed overlay would:

  • Allow us to review and approve the design of new buildings. Zoning doesn't allow us to do this right now;

  • Require new buildings with 20 or more apartments or condos to have a parking lot or a garage;

  • Remove the “ground-floor commercial” requirement for historic buildings;

  • Stop some new car-oriented businesses from opening

Historic Sites Still Protected

Many buildings and sites on Germantown Avenue are listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. These buildings cannot be demolished or changed without the approval of the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

View a map of protected properties

Who is Involved in the Rezoning Process?

  • PCPC’s employees will present the draft recommendations at a public meeting. Everyone can offer comments. We'll update the proposal based on your feedback;

  • We'll give a draft bill to City Council. They will host a public hearing and vote on the changes. If they like what they see, then they'll send a zoning bill to the Mayor.

  • If the Mayor signs the zoning bill, then the changes that we worked on together will become law.

How Can I Learn More and Share Comments?


Ian Hegarty, Upper Northwest Community Planner 215-683-4672


Germantown North Rezoning Map


A public meeting will be scheduled to present the proposed changes and hear feedback from residents, businesses, and other community stakeholders. Please check back here for updates.

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