4 MAJOR IMPACTS OF NEW ZONING
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|Until last month, Philadelphia was a 21st-century city governed by a zoning code dating back to the 1930s. (There were major revisions in the '60s, but if you remember them, you weren't there.) It was a straightjacket. Now years of effort and argument have given the city a spanking-new code. Philadelphia deputy mayor for economic development Alan Greenberger told Bisnow what the new code will mean for Philly CRE.|
|1) SIMPLIFICATION The new zoning code isn't as restrictively specific as the old one. For example, the old code specified the kinds of retail allowed in a particular place, meaning that when a new kind of retailer—like personal computers—wanted to open shop, it would have to go to the zoning board. (You were allowed to open an Apple Store, but only if you sold Granny Smith and Jonagolds.) All together, 410 use categories have been streamlined to 99.|
|2) CIVIC DESIGN REVIEW Large projects—perhaps two dozen or so each year as defined by the new code—will undergo a new process called the Civic Design Review. Those are projects that need to be reviewed by a committee of the planning commission but also require community input. The new process will have deadlines for both the developers and community groups, so it doesn't drag out.|
|3) THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT The new code will promote higher densities around transit, especially in the three major transit nodes downtown, though other areas might be added, Alan says. This acknowledges the importance of walkable neighborhoods in promoting business and real estate growth in Philadelphia’s urban core.|
|4) REMAPPING UNDER WAY The new zoning code isn't a remapping of the city, according to Alan. That's a separate process that's already started, in which the city has been divided into 18 planning districts. These will determine which land users are obsolete and make recommendations for zoning changes.|