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Mayor Nutter officially signs new zoning code

1/10/2012 | Real Estate Blog

On December 22, 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter signed Philadelphia’s new zoning code. We have previously mentioned the new code on this blog, and pointed out that it is intended to replace the old one, which had been recognized as cumbersome, outdated and economically stagnating for the city of Philadelphia.

Many have expressed support of the new code for its reflection of the development that has taken place since the old code was conceived. Hopefully the new code is able to address the city’s needs for zoning rules that are clearer, more predictable and which afford more equality between developers and communities. In particular, it has been said that the new code will allow for greater development by attracting developers from areas outside the city.

The new code will reportedly not be in force for another eight months. Developers and neighborhoods are currently on notice that they should prepare for the coming changes.

One thing for our readers to keep in mind is that the impact of new zoning laws many times have unintended consequences. And, no doubt, it will take time for communities to become adjusted to the changes. Developers will need to engage the community in which they plan to take on projects. As developers know, reaching out to the community is an important part of the process as helps avoid problems down the road and ensures there is some basic agreement on how a project is to proceed. It is also important so as to avoid delays in projects as well.

To facilitate this, the new code has a civic design review process which is intended to review how projects match with their surroundings and how they are built.

In order to ensure the new code’s workability, the city council will be reviewing the code annually and making revisions or additions as needed.

It will certainly be interesting to see how communities in Philadelphia adjusts to its new code.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, “Phila. hopes new zoning brings more, better projects,” Natalie Kostelni, December 22, 2011.