§14-1612. South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District Controls. [401]


(1) Legislative Findings.[341] The Council finds that:

(a) Major public and private investments have been made and continue to be made in and around the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District section of the City to enhance visual aesthetics, preserve and protect the economic development potential, prevent declining property values, encourage investment and tourism, promote residential uses in and adjacent to this area of the City, and protect and promote the economic vitality of this area of Philadelphia;

(b) Public expenditures have included appropriations for restoration of the historic HeadHouse Square and other historic buildings and features in the area, the replacement of infrastructure, improvement of vehicular access, street and sidewalk improvements;

(c) Substantial private investment within and immediately adjacent to South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District includes the restoration, adaptive reuse, and reconstruction of numerous historic structures as well as new construction, thereby creating many employment opportunities and new housing units within the area;

(d) A joint public and private investment effort has created the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District to provide additional private funds for the maintenance and enhancement of this area;

(e) South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District is important to the economic vitality and diverse character of Center City Philadelphia in that it serves as a major tourist destination within a short distance of "America’s Most Historic Square Mile" with millions of regional, national and international sightseers and visitors per year coming to this area;

(f) South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District is a neighborhood consisting of a fragile and unique balance of residences and retail development surrounded by predominantly single-family residential areas within walking distance or a short commute of the business core;

(g) In addition to special use and zoning controls providing for limitation of the size and location of certain specific entertainment and commercial uses as set forth in the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District, additional controls, provisions and standards are necessary to accommodate certain existing and future larger scale uses within the District that are vital to providing services to residences within and near the District, such as book stores, clothing stores, department stores and food markets, and otherwise permitted as of right under the applicable zoning classification;

(h) Since the enactment of the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District Controls it has become apparent that certain technical amendments may be desirable;

(i) Therefore, special land use and zoning controls providing for limitation on the size and location of certain specific entertainment and commercial uses, as recommend in the 1988 "Plan for Center City," are required to protect the historic, residential, cultural properties which are within and which surround this district and are critical to the economic vitality of this section of the City.

(2) Purpose of the District. This special district is established in order to preserve and encourage the revitalization of the portion of the City known as the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District. It is recognized that this section of the City is unique and has developed into a vital, mixed use district containing many various retail, service and entertainment uses at street level with various residential uses interspersed at street level and on the upper floors of buildings. This pattern contributes to the distinctive atmosphere of South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District. Council recognizes the need to establish special land use and zoning controls to protect the investment in, and foster the preservation and development of this section of the City in accordance with its special character.

(3) District Boundaries. For the purposes of this section, the South Street/Headhouse Square Special Services District regulations shall apply to:[402.1]

(a) all the properties within the area depicted on Map "A" and Map "B"; and

(b) all properties fronting on Kenilworth Street and Bainbridge Street between 3rd Street and Reese Street; all properties fronting on 4th Street between Bainbridge Street and Christian Street; all properties fronting on 5th Street between Bainbridge Street and Fitzwater Street; and, all properties fronting on the easterly side of Randolph Street between Fitzwater Street and Kenilworth Street.

(4) Prohibited Uses. Within the South Street/HeadHouse Square Special Services District and notwithstanding any other Chapter of this Title, the following uses shall be prohibited:

(a) Athletic and drill hall, dance hall, and other entertainment of guests and patrons as a main use;

(b) Automobile repair shops; automobile service station for the retail sale of automobile fuels, lubricants and accessories; retail sale and installation of automobile parts, tires or audio equipment; automobile and truck sale lots; automobile and truck rental lots;

(c) Car wash;

(d) Fortune teller establishment;[342]

(e) Installation of auto, boat, motorcycle or truck parts;

(f) Laboratories (analytical, chemical and research) and assay offices;

(g) Non-accessory or outdoor advertising signs;

(h) Outdoor sales or storage, including outdoor use of coin operated machines which dispense food or drink;

(i) Private clubs with a license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for the "after hours" sale of alcoholic beverages;

(j) Restaurants, take-out restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and other similar establishments for the sale and consumption of food and/or beverages, with drive-in or take-out service (sale of food and/or beverages to be consumed outside the confines of the premises);

(k) Retail sales of products or food through a window or aperture which opens directly onto the sidewalk, a public arcade, or public entranceway into a building;

(l) Tattoo and body piercing establishments;

(m) Trolley and bus terminals and car and bus barns;

(n) Accessory curb cuts for vehicular ingress and egress along South Street; and

(o) Any accessory speaker or audio device that causes music or voices to reach the sidewalk area, public arcade, or public entranceway to a building, which is adjunct to any permitted retail use, used to advertise merchandise sold, and/or used to call public attention to the use of the premises.

(5) Prohibition of Building Set-Back. Any building upon any lot abutting South Street shall not provide any front, side or rear yard which sets back from the street line of South Street.

(6) Signs. Signs accessory to the use on the premises shall be permitted in this district only under the following conditions;

(a) All signs must be attached flat against the wall of the building;

(b) Lots facing one street line shall be permitted a total sign area of three (3) square feet -- for each lineal foot of street line;

(c) Lots facing more than one street line shall be permitted a total sign area as follows:

(.1) For the shorter street line frontage there shall be permitted a sign area of three (3) square feet for each lineal foot of street line;

(.2) For the longer street line frontage there shall be permitted a sign area of two (2) square feet for each lineal foot of street line; provided, that in no case shall the total sign area on the longer street line frontage be less than the equivalent sign area permitted upon the shorter street line frontage;

(.3) Where a lot has two or more short and/or two or more long street line frontages, the provisions of (.1) and (.2) shall apply to each of said street frontages;

(.4) The total of the sign areas permitted in subparagraphs (.1) and (.2) may be cumulated; provided, such use is restricted to one street frontage.

(7) Larger Scale Uses on South Street.[343]
(a) Lots with frontage on South Street that occupy less than 50% of the total area of a block and/or have less than 50% of the street frontage of a block shall comply with all of the coverage and set back requirements of the underlying zoning classification;

(b) In order to accommodate larger scale uses, lots with frontage on South Street occupying more than 50% of the total area of the block and having more than 50% of the street frontage shall, notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, be entitled to occupy 100% of the lot and may have one vehicular access point on South Street for ingress only, to necessary parking, provided:

(.1) That all required loading, trash, handling and parking facilities are accommodated within a structure; and

(.2) The lot has a second frontage on one of the following streets: Rodman street, Lombard street, Gaskill street, Kater street or Bainbridge street;

(c) The provision of an accessory eat-in area in a permitted large scale use for the consumption of food and beverage otherwise available for purchase for consumption off premises shall not be considered to be a restaurant of any type, provided that the food and beverage shall be for sale only during the hours that the main use is open for business.

(8) Parking which is accessory to a main use and on the same lot or an abutting lot may exceed 25% of the area of the main use provided such parking is located within a parking garage structure.[344]

(9) Conflicting Regulations. Notwithstanding Subsection (6) of this Section, the specific provisions contained in Subsection (7) and (8) of this Section shall control in the event that they conflict with other more restrictive provisions of this Title.[345]
(Maps appear on the following pages)


South Street/Head House Special Controls District MAP A (Front Street to 5th Street)




South Street/Head House Special Controls District MAP B (5th Street to 11th Street)