10 Things to Remember as Philadelphia Rewrites Zoning Code

Philadelphia has appointed a Zoning Reform Commission to rewrite its 1962 Code. Two leaders who advocated for the rewrite share what they learned from other cities.

After a three year push by building industry and neighborhood organizations, Philadelphia has appointed a 31 member Zoning Reform Commission and begun to rewrite its outdated Code. To do so, the authors state that Philadelphia would be wise to learn from the experience of other cities and:

  1. Hold listening sessions to understand the failings of the Code for different constituencies
  2. Analyze the Code to determine where change is needed to modernize, simplify or add consistency to Code
  3. Share key findings early to assure consensus
  4. Simplify the 624 page Code so that a lawyer isn't needed to understand it
  5. Educate and update the public regularly
  6. Reduce the number of zoning designations from 55 to a sensible and workable number
  7. Add contextual zoning to choose "street sense" over code adherence
  8. In the absence of a Comprehensive Plan, find big ideas that define the goals of zoning
  9. Adopt changes throughout the process rather than waiting until the end
  10. Do not tackle the most controversial issues in your first rewrite phase and risk the entire process
Full Story: 10 tipes to city for building a better code


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