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Proposed changes to new zoning code have some developers frustrated

11/29/2012 | Real Estate Blog

In our last post, we wrote about a controversial bill that would require developers to provide parking in some residential and mixed-use areas where they don’t have to under the current code. The bill would also change certain lot sizes. The bill, as we noted, is an attempt to address the problem of significant parking shortages in certain neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Last time, we said that the bill’s passage would mark the first change to the city’s brand new zoning code. Other bills that would change the streamlined new zoning code have also been introduced. Among them is a set of changes related to outdoor signs and accessory signs-signs related directly to the businesses at a site.

According to City commerce director Alan Greenberger, the changes are intended to streamline and update what had been a hodgepodge of rules. The goal of the proposals is to make it easier for businesses to deal with their signs.

Sources didn’t detail the changes that will be sought, but did note that the proposed changes for accessory sings are many.

Controversy over the proposed changes, as our readers may know, is that introducing bills to alter the code will undo much of the streamlining the new code was intended to create. Some have pointed out that while changes are already being introduced for the new code, the city is still dealing with variances under the old code. The feeling among critics is that it is too soon to start tinkering with a zoning code which has not been tested out yet.

Whatever happens with respect to the various proposals put forth already, it is fairly clear that there will be a good deal of contention surrounding any proposed changes. In our next post, we’ll look at another controversy surrounding the new code.

Source:, “Development groups question proposed zoning-code changes,” Jan Ransom, November 16, 2012