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FAQ

General

How do I find out demographic information about my neighborhood?

For a quick, easy look at your neighborhood use Policy Map and zoom in on your neighborhood to see a variety of economic and demographic data.

Also, the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations has a handy census data finder on their website. You can simply click on your area of the city and instantly view Census data.

For more specific data and to export excel files of demographic data, use the U.S. Census Bureau website. Go to www.Census.gov and click American Fact Finder, Decennial Census 2000, Summary File 1 or 3, create custom table.

How do I find out the zoning of a property?

How do I find a map of City Facilities like Libraries and Recreation Centers and Service Areas?

How do I find information about properties?

Visit the City of Philadelphia's Citymaps application 

Who do I contact for general questions about the City of Philadelphia and information about other Departments outside of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission?

Call or visit Philly 3-1-1

Development Planning

Where are you located?

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission is located at One Parkway Building 1515 Arch Street, 13th Floor. Identification is required to enter the building.

When are plans accepted for review?

Plans are accepted Monday –Friday between the hours of 9AM to 4PM and by appointment. The division may be occasionally closed due to staff meetings, however, plans will be taken and reviewed as soon as possible.

Does it cost anything to have my plan reviewed by the Planning Commission?

The Planning Commission does not accept money for reviews and/or scheduled meetings.

How can I contact the Development Planning Division?

How do I find information about ZBA cases?

How do I find information about Ordinances of Council?

What can I build on my property?

  1. Check your zoning classification and overlays
  2. Find out what your zoning classification and any other overlays will allow.
  3. Please be advised that there may be other controls that may affect your property. L&I makes the final determination and interpretation of the Zoning Code.
  4. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Requirements for all applications

Special Requirements for certain applications

  • Revisions to lot lines
    • Check with City Planning Commission to discuss the potential for approval of lot line changes when creating non-conforming lots
    • All applications for lot line changes must be reviewed and signed by the City Survey District
  • Construction on lots greater than 15,000 sq. ft. (or 5,000 in the Cobbs Creek Watershed)
    • Delineate limit of earth disturbance
    • If earth disturbance exceeds 15,000 sq. ft. (or 5,000 in the Cobbs Creek Watershed), applicant must receive prerequisite approval from the Philadelphia Water Department prior to Planning Commission approval
  • Wissahickon Watershed
    • How to determine if your property falls within the Wissahickon Watershed (overlay will appear in zoning maps)
    • Controls for the Wissahickon Watershed
    • More information about Wissahickon Watershed Controls
    • How to determine which impervious coverage limit category the parcel falls into
    • Locations of streams and swales and steep slopes can be determined either by consulting regulatory maps or completing a site survey
    • Information on plans should include:
    • Limit of earth disturbance
    • Amount of impervious coverage prior to and after construction
    • Locations of streams, swales, steep slopes
    • Erosion and sediment controls
    • Grading plans prior to and following construction, including addition of engineering controls to manage development on slopes
    • Stormwater management plan (approved by the City Water Department for projects that add 500 sq. ft. of impervious coverage or more)
  • Floodplains
    • How to determine if your property is in a floodplain –Link to FEMA mapping
    • City rules and regulations regarding floodplains –Link to Section 14-1606 of Philadelphia Code and Charter
    • Information on plans should include:
      • Lowest floor elevation of all structures in Philadelphia City Datum
      • Elevation of all tanks over 550 gallons that store materials listed in Section 14-1606
      • Delineation of floodway/floodplain boundary if applicable
  • New Construction
    • Check with City Planning Commission prior to plan submission to discuss the potential for approval when building uses that do not conform to the City Code and Charter
    • See additional requirements for special areas and the developer’s checklist
  • Landscaping around parking lots
    • How to determine if landscaping and additional amenities are required
    • If landscaping is required, provide a landscape plan that document height and width of landscaped areas, types, sizes, and number of planting materials, and percentage of interior landscaping provided within parking lot (for your convenience, a list of pre-approved planting materials are provided)
  • Changes to masterplan districts
    • Depends on the masterplan to be amended. Please consult the Development Planning Division
  • Landscaping around telecommunication towers
    • How to determine if landscaping is required
      • Residential districts
      • Commercial districts
      • Industrial districts
    • Note that screening requirements are waived by the Planning Commission for structures on rooftops.
    • Floodplain regulations may apply to telecommunication structures --cabinets should be raised 18” above the base flood elevation