Legal Alert

Philadelphia Zoning and Land Use Update - February 8, 2022

February 8, 2022

To: Ballard Spahr Real Estate Clients and Colleagues

The Ballard Spahr Zoning and Land Use Team continues to monitor all aspects of the Philadelphia land use approval process, including the issuance of zoning and building permits, regulation of construction work, and zoning and land use legislation in City Council. Below, we provide information on bills recently introduced and passed by City Council.

Philadelphia City Council Legislative Update

  • Bill No. 210633, the /MIN, Mixed Income Neighborhoods bill, applicable to portions of the Third Council District and Seventh Council District, was signed by the Mayor on January 18, 2022. The ordinance takes effect six months following its enactment, meaning that it should only apply to zoning applications filed on or after July 18, 2022.
  • Bill No. 220007, introduced by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier on January 20, 2022, expands the scope of the /AHP, Affordable Housing Preservation Overlay (as contemplated by Bill No. 210778) to include several parcels in the Third Council District that currently contain affordable housing. When read with Bill No. 210778, the bill would:
    • Require that uses other than residential uses or required off-street parking only be located on the ground floor of a building;
    • Apply the /MIN, Mixed Income Neighborhoods bill requirements immediately, i.e., prior to the six-month effective date;
    • Establish a hierarchy among the Zoning Code’s different FAR and height bonuses by requiring that a project in the /AHP first utilize the Mixed Income Housing Bonus; and
    • Prohibit the demolition of any building in the /AHP before a building permit for construction, expansion, or alteration of a new or existing building has been issued for the same lot.
  • Bill No. 220008, introduced by Councilmembers Mark Squilla and Allan Domb on January 20, 2022, would increase the precautions that contractors must take in relation to adjacent and adjoining properties when performing certain types of construction activity. In defined instances, contractors would be required to conduct structural observations and preconstruction surveys for adjoining and/or adjacent properties. Contractors also would need to provide notice to adjacent properties about the planned construction activities and receive written sign-off from the adjacent neighbors attesting to the notification before certain construction work could commence.
    • Note that this bill would modify some of the Building Code sections previously modified by Bill No. 210389, which was signed by the Mayor on July 15, 2021 but does not take effect until January 1, 2023. This ordinance revises provisions of the Building Code concerning excavation work and work impacting historic structures. Starting in 2023, a building permit will be required for excavation exceeding a depth of five feet, and when performing construction activities within 90 feet of a historic structure, contractors must conduct structural observations and a preconstruction survey of the structure.

Additional Updates

Click here to read the most recent status report on state and City permitting and construction issues. For specific guidance, please reach out to members of the Ballard Spahr Zoning and Land Use Team.

We wish you continued good health and safety during this challenging period, and we will strive to keep you informed as the situation evolves.

- The Ballard Spahr Zoning and Land Use Team

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This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

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