More About Zoning & Planning
What is Zoning?
Zoning is the way cities regulate how properties are developed. Will your block have houses, apartment buildings, commercial space or a park? It all depends on Philadelphia’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).
How it works
Each lot in Philly is zoned as one of 10 categories:
- Parks and open space
- Public, civic and institutional
- Retail sales
- Commercial services
- Vehicle and vehicular equipment sales and services
- Wholesale, distribution and storage
- Urban architecture
If a developer wants to follow existing zoning, they may build “by right” without additional process. When a developer wants to build something outside the existing code, they need approval from the ZBA, which may involve a community zoning meeting organized by a local Registered Community Organization (RCO).
You can make your voice heard about neighborhood development by working with your local RCO. RCOs are given notice by the Planning Commission whenever developers in their area request a variance or special exception, or when a proposed development will require a Civic Design Review. The RCO convenes a public meeting that the developers are required to attend before they can be heard by the ZBA.
Find Your Local RCO
Make your voice heard about neighborhood development by working with your local Registered Community Organization (RCO). Click the link below, enter your address, and select the “Zoning” tab from the menu.