Zoning Code Change Considered to Protect Philly’s Cornice Lines

To protect the character of city blocks, a Philadelphia councilwoman has proposed new restrictions on building heights on blocks with uniformly two-story buildings.
February 11, 2014, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Philadelphia is dealing with market pressures to build above the “uniform cornice lines” created by the city’s many blocks of two-story buildings, according to an article by Jared Brey. The problem is that the current zoning code allows exceptions: “If you’re building on a lot surrounded on either side by two-story structures, you can still build up to the citywide residential height limit of 38 feet, but everything above the second story has to be set back at least eight feet.”

Now Jannie Blackwell, a city councilwoman, has announced that she will introduce new restrictions in the zoning code; “If you’re building on a lot surrounded on either side by two-story structures, under Blackwell’s proposed amendment to the zoning code, you couldn’t build above the taller of the two structures.”

Brey’s article has more on what the zoning code change would mean for new construction, as well as evidence of the undesirable effects of the current code.

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Published on Monday, February 10, 2014 in PlanPhilly
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