Philly’s new zoning code getting good reviews

Philadelphia developers, architects and residents are one week into life under the city’s new zoning code and there’s already some early feedback on new rules that were years in the making.

So far, so good, said Eva Gladstein, deputy executive director at the city Planning Commission.

“I actually got a report from one development attorney and he’s actually just got his first permit under the new code,” she said. “It went really smoothly, and he was really pleased it was done quickly and efficiently.”

Gladstein said she’s getting feedback from people who deal with the code.

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“We have a positive one week report but the true measure will probably be several months from now,” she said. “Somewhat by design the new code started at the end of August — kind of a slow period anyway.”

Northern Liberties Neighbors Association President Matt Ruben said the code has the potential to improve future development.

“Because the rules that it puts down are more consistent and, at least in a number of cases, better,” he said. “Or (they) make more sense for today’s world than the old code.”

At the same time, Ruben said, the new code is designed to smooth development and require fewer variances.

“But citizens and communities are more dependent on the city and its agencies to make sure that permits are granted properly and make sure that all of the rules for development are upheld rigorously,” he said.

This month, Philadelphia’s Citizens Planning Institute will hold informational sessions on the new zoning code for developers, architects and others who use the code on a daily basis.

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