Change is Coming: Philadelphia zoning code finally revised


Image via phila.govIn August, we wrote about signing a petition for new zoning codes. And looks like you must’ve stepped up to the plate! On December 15, city council unanimously passed new codes. This was shortly followed by Mayor Nutter, who on December 22 signed the legislation, enacting new laws to officially take effect in August 2012.

So what, exactly, has changed? Considering the last major revision of Philadelphia’s zoning code happened in 1962, a lot, including a special focus on sustainability. Here are some examples:

  • Reducing vehicular traffic and promoting walking with regulations for mixed use districts (so people can live closer to work), creating Transit Oriented Development (for an example), and allowing retail buildings to be located closer to each other in more walkable patterns.
  • Encouraging renewable energy and energy conservation by allowing small wind energy systems and solar collectors.
  • Promoting water conservation through required compliance with the Philadelphia Water Department’s storm water regulations.
  • Adjusting zoning to be friendlier to urban farmers for community gardens, animal husbandry and greenhouses, among others.

To learn more about zoning in Philadelphia and the new codes process, visit