Housing and Zoning Committee
Why join the Walnut Hill Zoning Committee?
How can we ensure responsible development in our neighborhood?
This committee shall: serve as the liaison group between complainants in any matters concerning the Department of Licenses and Inspections; initiate programs to acquire neighborhood stability through acquisition and improvement of houses and vacant lots; notify the community of any proposed zoning changes and conduct zoning meetings between the developers and the community to discuss proposed projects and their impact on our community.
When am I required to get a Zoning Approval?
(Complete guidelines can be found below in the attached Zoning Administration Manual PDF)
Zoning is usually the first step in the development approval process. Each land use activity must demonstrate that it conforms with Philadelphia’s zoning laws - whether it’s simply a change in land use, a brand new construction project, or a rehabilitation project. Zoning regulations ensure that the land use, site layout, and building form on every parcel in the City of Philadelphia is compatible with its surrounding context.
Generally, a project will need a zoning approval if it involves:
• Changes of a use of a property
• New construction or additions
• Alterations that result in a change in gross floor area
• Carports, detached private garages, greenhouses and rear yard sheds for homes that are larger than 120 square feet or higher than 8 feet
• Installation of a fence that exceeds the height limits established by the Zoning Code
• Construction of a deck higher than 12” above ground
• Wind energy conversion systems or ground-mounted / freestanding solar collectors
• Creation of off-street parking or reconfiguration of existing parking
• Changes to a property’s zoning classification
Walnut Hill Community Association is an approved Registered Community Organization. Below are guidelines set by the city regarding reviewing your project with WHCA.
The Developer's Guide to Public Notice and Zoning Board Hearings
Meetings with Registered Community Organizations
The Zoning Code requires specific neighborhood-based notice for applications that trigger Civic Design Review or require Zoning Board approval for a special exception or variance. Applicants with these types of projects must:
1. Notify all Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) whose registered boundaries include the subject property, and
2. Meet with the Local RCOs to discuss the project.
The RCO Meeting Process
2. Notify the WHCA Zoning Committee within 7 days of confirmation from L&I that Civic Design Review is required, or within 7 days of the petition of appeal filing date for special exceptions and variances. Use of a delivery confirmation method is suggested. The notice must indicate:
• Applicant’s name, address, phone number, and email address.
• A copy of the application submitted to L&I (or the location where copies can be obtained).
• A short description of the subject property.
• A short description of the nature, scope, and purpose of the application.
• The type of zoning review, i.e. Civic Design Review, special exception, or variance.
• The time and place of the public Civic Design Review Committee meeting or Zoning Board hearing. If the public meeting/hearing has not been scheduled yet, the notice should indicate as such.
• The name and contact information of all RCOs contacted about the application.
3. Schedule a time to meet with the Local RCOs (or District Councilperson, if applicable) to discuss your application, preferably the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Local RCO. The Zoning Code gives the Local RCOs (or District Councilperson) the responsibility of convening, conducting, and organizing the meeting. The code requires at least one meeting with the Local RCOs (or District Councilperson) although multiple meetings may be helpful to adequately discuss the project.
4. Send a copy of the notice and a written summary of the meeting to the Civic Design Review (CDR) Committee or the Zoning Board, whichever is applicable, no later than 45 days from the zoning permit application date (for Civic Design Review) or the date of filing the petition of appeal to the Zoning Board (for special exceptions and variances). Use of a delivery confirmation method is suggested.