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A Guide to Understanding the

Zoning Map Revision Plan

of the Philadelphia City Planning and Zoning Code Commissions

In May 2007, Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the City of Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to create a Zoning Code Commission (ZCC) to reform and modernize Philadelphia’s outdated and complex zoning code. After four years of dedicated work, the ZCC sent its Zoning Code Proposals to City Council in May 2011.

The ZCC has also prepared a draft Zoning Map Revision Plan outlining a two-step process for updating the City’s official zoning map:





1 CONVERSION A “Conversion Map” applies the names of zoning districts from the new zoning code to the City’s present-day zoning map. A draft Conversion Map is now online at:

Responsible Agency: The ZCC ( Time Frame: The ZCC proposes that the Conversion Map be made effective on the same date as the new zoning code.

How does conversion work? The draft new zoning code

consolidates over 60 base zoning districts into 34 districts and contains tables showing the conversion from the existing to new district names. For example, these tables indicate that “RSA-3, Residential Single-Family Attached 3” will replace the existing district name “R5”. Visit to download the latest draft of the code and review the conversion tables.

What are the impacts from conversion?

The changes to the text of the code, which will apply city-wide, will result in some changes to the use and dimensional standards of each zoning district. In order to help residents keep track of these changes, the ZCC has published A Review of Use Changes in the New Zoning Code ( of%20Use%20Changes.Mar%202011.pdf). 1.

Sample Conversion Table

Existing Name New Name R1 R1A R2 R3 R4 R5 …

RSD-1 RSD-2 RSD-3 RSA-1 RSA-2 RSA-3 …

Corresponding change on Conversion Map



Prepared by The Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, May 2011 |

2 RE-MAPPING Over time, changes in land use may require a “remapping”, or a change to a property’s zoning district classification. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s (PCPC) comprehensive planning process will identify re-mapping needs.

Responsible Agency: The

PCPC (www.philaplanning. org)

Time Frame: Ongoing 5-year

cycle for planning districts. Zoning map revisions will follow by City Council ordinance.

How does re-mapping work? The PCPC man-

Upper Far Northeast Lower Far Northeast Central Northeast

Lower Northwest

Upper Northwest

Upper North

Lower Northeast

North Delaware

North West Park

Lower North

West University/ Southwest

River Wards Fall 2011 2012


2013 2014 2015


Spring 2016

Lower South Lower Southwest

ages Philadelphia 2035: The Comprehensive Plan, a comprehensive planning process comprised of a city-wide vision and 18 district plans. The process will complete four district plans per year over a five-year cycle. The first two district plans begin June 2011. Each district plan results in land use recommendations that will identify re-mapping needs. After each plan, the PCPC prepares re-mapping ordinances for action by City Council. The PCPC conducts substantial public outreach so citizens can guide the plan, and additional civic engagement for any requisite re-mappings.

When is remapping necessary? Corrective: To match zoning with existing land use. Visioning: Apply zoning to encourage new development and uses envisioned by the community through the planning process.


Prepared by The Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, May 2011 |

A RE-MAPPING Example Hunting Park West Industrial Area


Corrective Re-Mapping


Visioning Re-Mapping


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In September 2010, the PCPC published The Hunting Park West Industrial Area Study, an exemplary report containing the standard components of a EAST FALLS district plan, including planning goals and objectives, an existing conditions summary, and land use and zoning recommendations.



Study Area


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The study recommends several zoning changes to implement the vision and land use plan for the 400-acre historical industrial area. The following examples highlight two remapping recommendations.




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Corrective Re-Mapping

On Roberts Avenue between King Street and Wissahickon Avenue is a block of two-story single-family rowhouses, however, the present zoning is a multi-family designation (R10). The study recommends re-mapping this district to R10A, a single-family rowhouse designation, to preserve the existing residential character of the block.


Existing Two-Story Housing

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R10A Zoning Example R10A allows single-family, attached development up to three stories in height.


Prepared by The Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, May 2011 |

A RE-MAPPING Example Hunting Park West Industrial Area



The Hunting Park West Industrial Area Study identifies the former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (EPPI) along Henry Avenue as an infill development opportunity. One alternative from the study envisions Henry Avenue as a mixed-use development corridor. The current zoning for this site is R9A, a single-family rowhouse classification. In order to implement this vision for Henry Avenue, the study recommends re-mapping the former EPPI site to C3, a mediumdensity commercial mixed-use district. Existing Zoning

Proposed Zoning

The R9A districts permits singlefamily and civic/institutional uses (such as schools, libraries, and recreation centers) in three-story detached, semidetached, and attached buildings.

The C3 dimensional standards enable the construction of mid-rise buildings that may be used for residential, institutional, retail or commercial purposes.

Questions? Contact us at 4.

Prepared by The Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, May 2011 |

A Guide to Understanding Philadelphia's Zoning Map Revision Plan  

A brochure explaning the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission's Zoning Map Revision Plan, a comprehensive plan for updating the City's offici...