Philadelphia bringing antiquated zoning code up to date

Philadelphia City Council has started a sweeping overhaul of the zoning code.

Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development, says the zoning code is so antiquated that it addresses hat makers and leather crafters.

“The code is so out of date that it lists where a milliner can do business or where tanneries can operate, but does not recognize a computer store or community garden,” he said.

The new code has been rewritten to bring things up to date and cut down on the number of zoning variances needed in the city.

Not everyone is in favor of the changes. Paula Paul, a 30 year resident, says a special overlay for Germantown needs to be put in the new code.

“Over the years, our business district, our commercial corridor, has deteriorated tremendously with an abundance of dollar stores and cell phone stores and wig stores,” she said. “Fortunately, our City Council had gotten an overlay limiting this so we could bring other businesses to our neighborhood.”

The comments from Wednesday’s hearing will be considered by the commission redoing the code. The commission will send its modifications to City Council for a final up or down vote.

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