Philadelphia, May 9, 2019 – Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) and Minority Leader Brian O’Neill (10th District) on Thursday offered legislative measures to review and reform the zoning code in order to put residents on equal footing with developers.
A resolution co-sponsored by Council President Clarke and Minority Leader O’Neill would create a Zoning Code Review Commission to evaluate the Code and make recommendations for improvement. Authorization by Council ensures that the Commission’s business will be conducted publicly and transparently, offering opportunities to the public for testimony and input.
“The Zoning Code is now seven years old and warrants a thorough review — both of the positive and negative — with the goal of recognizing the positive and correcting the negative,” Minority Leader O’Neill said.
“It is time to revisit what works in our Zoning Code, what needs improvement, and what no longer suits the needs of our City,” Council President Clarke agreed. “The persistently high rate at which use variances are granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment is an area of particular concern. The people who choose to call Philly home, who help make our City an increasingly attractive and vibrant place to live and work, deserve predictability with regard to neighborhood development and for their needs to be heard and respected.”
The Zoning Code Review Commission will be required to submit a report on findings and recommendations to the Council and Mayor within six months of authorization by way of resolution.
Also on Thursday, Council President Clarke offered an ordinance to create Single Family Preservation Districts, in order to preclude the granting of certain variances by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in certain residential areas. Those variances would otherwise permit developers to build multi-family units on property that the Zoning Code currently limits to single-family use. The ordinance was crafted in response to ongoing community concerns.
Read the legislation: