Planning Commission approves Zoning Map Revision Plan

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission took a formal step toward implementing the new zoning code Tuesday afternoon when it approved the Zoning Map Revision Plan, presented by former Zoning Code Commission Director Eva Gladstein. The revision plan was actually created by the Zoning Code Commission last summer, after it submitted its Preliminary Report to City Council, but the Charter Amendment which created the ZCC required that the Planning Commission approve the plan. It did so unanimously on Tuesday. 

At the outset of Tuesday’s meeting, Planning Commission Chair and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced that the staff of the ZCC, Gladstein and Natalie Shieh, would remain in the employ of the City. The Zoning Code Commission legally ceased to exist when it delivered its final report to City Council, on November 17 of last year. Gladstein was named deputy director for the Planning Commission; Shieh was named project manager in the Deputy Mayor’s office.

“I’m extremely happy that both Eva and Natalie are staying on with us,” said Gary Jastrzab, executive director of the Planning Commission. “They’re both very smart people, very good managers, so we’re happy to have [them].”

The Zoning Map Revision Plan, along with a guide to understanding it, is posted on the Zoning Code Commission’s website.  

Gladstein explained to the Commission that the map revisions would happen in two phases. The first phase will start the day the new zoning code goes into effect, August 22 of this year. On that day, a conversion map will go into effect. The map will automatically rename each district: R1 will become RSD-1, C1 will become CMX-1, and so on. Gladstein also pointed out that in some cases the zoning standards in a given district will change as a result of the automatic conversion. The Zoning Code Commission previously released a document detailing what changes will affect different districts.

The second phase of the zoning map revisions will be the individual remapping of each district, a five-year process carried out by the Planning Commission. The remapping began last summer with the West Park and Lower South districts. The process includes holding community meetings to solicit land-use recommendations and, subsequently, crafting ordinances for City Council to act on. Remapping is ultimately intended to bring the zoning regulations of each portion of Philadelphia into line with its current built environment and the development desires of its residents.

Gladstein’s presentation of the plan was brief and met with no objections from the Commission. On the contrary, Commissioner Nancy Rogo Trainer commended Gladstein for simplifying and clarifying the complex issue of zoning map revision.

Click here for full PlanPhilly’s full coverage of Tuesday’s PCPC meeting.   

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