The Philadelphia Zoning Code regulates development within the city. Zoning regulations govern land use, the height and bulk of buildings, population density, parking requirements, the placement of signs, character of development on private property, and property uses.
Zoning permits authorize construction of or an addition to a building. A permit is an official non-renewable document that authorizes a specific activity. Use Registration permits authorize a particular use of the building or ground. Both of these can be required before a building permit may be issued by L&I for any construction or before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued to occupy a building.
Zoning approval is necessary for the following:
- All new construction
- All occasions where a new use is proposed on or in a property
- Additions to all existing buildings
- Demolition, such as all or part of a structure or removal of a garage or shed
- Construction of sheds exceeding 120 square feet
- All non-residential fences and residential fences that are higher than allowed by the Zoning Code
- Decks higher than 12" above ground
- Creation of off-street parking or reconfiguration of existing parking
- Installation of signs
- Relocation of lot lines (combining or subdividing lots)
Visit the Business Services Center for more information about Zoning.
Recent changes to the City's decades-old zoning code were implemented August 22, 2012. You can read the new code here.
Learn about the zoning of a specific parcel and check out the zoning archive.
- Access all previous applications, approved uses and site drawings for a parcel of land. This is an on-line interface that allows individuals to search and view documents and drawings related to specific properties.
- Many single family dwellings have no zoning archive records.
- Some addresses do not have imaged records. If records ever existed they could have been lost before files were imaged in 2009 or may have originated under a different address.
- As properties are subdivided or assigned new addresses it becomes more difficult to find historic records. You may need to search multiple addresses.