Our monthly legislative tracker below provides summaries and status updates to bills currently before the Council.
Legislative Updates as of June 17, 2021
1. New Overlay District being Created
Bill No. 200348 – enacted April 29, 2021
This bill creates the “/WCS, West Chestnut Street Overlay District” and provides, in part, that L&I shall not issue a building permit for the erection of a building or alteration of a facade in the West Chestnut Street Area unless the Planning Commission has reviewed the plans of the facade and determined that those plans are substantially similar to the plans that were previously reviewed by the Civic Design Review Committee.
2. Creation of Mid-Walnut Street Area
Bill No. 210362 – enacted June 10, 2021
This bill creates a new zoning overlay called the mid-Walnut Street area and provides, among other things, that the maximum lot coverage for portions of buildings above 65 feet and up to 300 feet in height shall be 95% of the lot.
3. COVID-19 Zoning Update
Bill No. 210078-A – enacted 4/15/21
This bill makes changes to the Zoning Code recommended by the COVID-19 Development Working Group. Changes include changes to the current split-zoning requirements. It provides CDR exemptions for warehousing and distribution uses, although CDR would be required if the parcel is zoned IRMX or abuts residential districts. It also creates a new RSA-6 zoning district that would allow for lower maximum height (25 feet), smaller lot size and less open area. In addition, the bill creates the new Civic Purpose Special Purpose Zoning District, permits multiple primary buildings permitted on commercial lots, clarifies the definition of “artisan industrial,” and reduces the minimum lot size in RSA-5 to 960 square feet.
4. Drug Paraphernalia Stores
Bill No. 210159 – enacted 4/29/21
This bill revises the Retails Sales Use Category of the Zoning Code. The Bill redefines “Drug Paraphernalia Stores,” to permit such use where it is an accessory use to a Medical Marijuana Dispensary and categorizes “drug paraphernalia sales” as a Regulated Use under the Zoning Code.
5. Amendment to Zoning Map
Bill No. 210246 – enacted 4/29/21
This Ordinance amends the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain portions of the land located within an area bounded by Delaware Expressway, Richmond Street, Lewis Street, Delaware Avenue and Castor Avenue.
6. Amendment to Zoning Map
Bill No. 210247- enacted 4/29/21
This Ordinance amends the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by 63rd Street, Lansdowne Avenue, Felton Street, Haddington Lane, Edgewood Street, Lansdowne Avenue, 54th Street, Girard Avenue, 59th Street and Callowhill Street.
1. Variances Now Required
Bill No. 210425
This bill amends the Zoning Code by revising a provision of Section 14-514, entitled “/FNE, Far Northeast Overlay District”, to provide that any use within the Code that qualifies for a special exception shall instead require a variance within this Overlay District.
2. New Air BnB Legislation
Bill No. 210081
This bill adds and revises provisions related to use of properties for short-term lodging and hotel purposes. A limited lodging operator license is now required, in addition to other new regulations.
1. Property Maintenance
Bill No. 210205
If approved, this bill would amend the Property Maintenance Code to establish a program in which the city can perform certain urgent repairs and bill the property owner.
2. Street Vending
Bill No. 210332-A
If approved, this bill would revise Section 9-203 of the Philadelphia Code, prohibiting street vending on certain portions of East Passyunk Avenue and surrounding areas.
3. Excavation Issues
Bill No. 210389
If approved, this bill would revise the Building Code to revise provisions relating to excavation work and work impacting historic structures, creating an excavation contractor license, and instituting additional safeguards for properties next to where certain construction activities, such as underpinning, are occurring.
4. Commercial Review Area
Bill No. 210445
If approved, this bill would revise and consolidate provisions of Chapter 14-500, entitled “Overlay Zoning Districts,” by amending Section 14-524, entitled “/FDO, Fourth District Overlay District,” and Section 14-527, entitled “/WYN, Wynnefield District Overlay District,” and creating a “commercial review area” in which the following uses are permitted with a special exception:
5. Use Regulations
Bill No. 210446
If approved, this bill would revise provisions of Chapter 14-600, entitled “Use Regulations,” by amending use standards for historically designated properties and providing that for any structure located within a Residential Single-Family Detached (RSD) zoning district, the minimum lot area required per dwelling unit is 50% of the minimum lot area for that zoning district.
6. 1900 Market Street Digital Display Sign Regulations
Bill No. 210470
If approved, this bill would revise provisions of Chapter 14-900 by providing for new sign controls and requiring, among other things, that the signs be no higher than 50 feet, that they only be illuminated during certain hours, and that a traffic engineer demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Streets Department that the digital display accessory sign will not “create a material distraction to drivers of motor vehicles or otherwise present a safety hazard or substantially interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the neighborhood.”
7. Moratorium on Demolitions
Bill No. 210473
If approved, this bill would establish a temporary demolition moratorium with respect to historically significant properties in the area of Christian Street between Broad and 20th Streets, under certain terms and conditions.
8. Changes to Affordable Housing Bonus:
Bill No. 210474
Legislation proposed to make changes to Section 14-702 of the Zoning Code, entitled “Floor Area, Height, and Housing Unit Density Bonuses”; and by making related changes. The bill, in part, proposes that for properties located in an RM-2, RM-3, RM-4, RMX-1, RMX-2, RMX-3, IRMX, CMX-3, CMX-4, or CMX-5 zoning district earning a floor area bonus: by multiplying the maximum additional total gross floor area allowed (not including any floor area earned through bonuses other than this mixed income housing bonus), that would be earned through this bonus, measured in square feet, by $11.30, if the owner is seeking the moderate income bonus, and by $14.60 if the owner is seeking the low-income bonus. The effect of this legislation is that it will become more expensive for any developer seeking to get either a moderate income or low-income bonus.
Bill No. 210482
This bill proposes to create a new section of the Zoning Code, entitled “/HHC, Heliport Hazard Control Overlay District,” and providing in part that any deck, roof deck, roof deck access structure, or other outdoor area intended for human occupancy shall be located a minimum of 100 feet below the maximum height shown on the City of Philadelphia Heliport Hazard Control Map. Upon notice from L&I, the owner of any currently existing nonconforming structure that has an adverse effect on air navigational safety within the “Heliport Hazard Area” will have to install obstruction markers or lights as deemed necessary by the Federal Aviation Administration or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aviation, as applicable, so that the structures become more visible to pilots.
Full-text copies of all bills are available online.
As new details emerge or statuses change, we will provide relevant updates. Questions about pending legislation can be directed to our team.