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§ 14-202. Rules Of Measurement.

In the application of this Zoning Code the rules of measurement of this § 14-202 (Rules of Measurement) shall be observed and applied.

(a) Except as otherwise expressly stated in this Zoning Code, for the purpose of measuring the height of a structure, average ground level shall be calculated as the mean (average) ground level at the four principal corners of the subject structure, or the three principal corners in case of a triangular shaped structure footprint.

(b) When a lot is located within a 100-year floodplain, any point located one foot above the regulatory flood level shall be considered to be at the average ground level of the lot.

(c) When a lot is located over an active railway right-of-way, any point located four ft. above the minimum clearance that is required to be maintained above the railway right-of-way and within 110 ft. of the outward edges of the right-of-way, shall be considered to be at the average ground level of the lot.

The horizontal measurement of any wall of a building facing a confirmed street on a lot contiguous to that street.

The standard measure of a tree's diameter at four and one-half ft. above ground level.

The area of a facade articulation feature shall be measured by determining a minimum imaginary rectangle parallel to the building facade that completely encloses the feature.

The sum of the gross horizontal areas of all the floors of a building, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls or center lines of walls separating two buildings.

(a) Measurement Includes.

(.1) Porches.

(.2) Elevator shafts and stairwells on each floor.

(.3) Attic space, whether finished or unfinished, not dedicated to elevators or mechanical equipment.

(.4) Interior balconies.

(.5) Mezzanines.

(.6) Basements.

(.7) Penthouse space not used exclusively for elevators or mechanical equipment.

(.8) Mechanical equipment areas with a structural headroom of seven and one-half ft. or more.

(.9) All levels of an accessory or principal use parking garage located at or above the average ground level.

(b) Measurement Excludes.

(.1) Terraces, overhangs, and uncovered steps.

(.2) Cellars.

(.3) Enclosed public space.

(.4) Attic space, basement bulkheads, and penthouse space used exclusively for elevators or mechanical equipment, and other mechanical equipment areas with a structural headroom of less than seven and one-half ft. See also § 14-701(6) (Exceptions to Dimensional Standards).

(.5) Accessory off-street surface parking areas or loading spaces.

(.6) Underground accessory parking and related structures such as stairs, lobbies, and mechanical spaces.

(.7) In all Residential and SP-INS districts (See also § 14-701(6) (Exceptions to Dimensional Standards)):

(.a) Monuments, belfries, cupolas, minarets, pinnacles, gables, spires, or ornamental towers, not for human occupancy.

(.b) Towers of mechanical or structural necessity, except where the area of those towers exceed 20% of the ground floor level of the building of which they are a part, in which case they will be considered a part of the "gross floor area" of the building in the same manner as any other part.

(.8) Office, retail sales, commercial service, or public, civic, or institutional space located along the perimeter of a parking garage structure pursuant to § 14-502(6)(c)(.2) (Residential Parking Control Area) or § 14-803(4)(b)(.3) (Ground Floor Use).

(.9) In the SP-INS district:

(.a) Any floor area in any building that is below ground level and that is used for nonresidential purposes.

(.b) Any floor area in any building, above or below ground level, used exclusively for off-street parking of automobiles.

(.10) In the RMX-3, CMX-4, and CMX-5 districts, floor area used for retail sales, eating and drinking establishments, financial services (except for personal credit establishments), or personal services (except for body art service and fortune telling service), provided that the floor area exclusion shall not exceed 25% of the total gross floor area of the building, calculated without taking account of this exclusion.

(.a) The Personal Services use must be open to all members of the public and not restricted to residents of the development. This shall not prohibit the owner or operator from billing users of the facility.

(.b) The Personal Services use must be operated by a 3rd party vendor that is not owned by or affiliated with the owner or manager of the property where the use is located.

(.11) Exterior balconies.

(a) Except as otherwise expressly stated in this Zoning Code, the ground floor is the story of a building at the average ground level at the front of the building.

(b) In the case of buildings fronting on two streets, the ground floor is the story at the average of the ground level of the two street frontages.

(c) Within the floodplains of the Schuylkill River and Delaware River, the ground floor is the story measured one ft. above the 100-year flood elevation.

The horizontal measurement of any portion of the ground floor of a building fronting on a confirmed street, excluding any building entrances or lobbies.

Except as expressly provided elsewhere in this Zoning Code, the vertical distance from the average ground level at the base of the structure to the top of the structure, provided, that if height is measured on a gable wall of a building, the top of the building shall be considered to be the midpoint height between the eaves and the ridge.

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The total area of the horizontal plane of a lot at ground level.

The horizontal distance from the midpoint of the front lot line to the midpoint of the rear lot line of a lot. In the case of through lots, the horizontal distance from the midpoint of one front lot line to the midpoint of the opposite front lot line of a lot. In the case of flag lots the width of the "pole" or portion of the lot only used for access to the remainder of the lot shall be ignored in determining the midpoint of both the front and rear lot lines.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

See § 14-202(20) (Street Frontage, Width of).

If a lot fronts on two streets, the sign area for each street shall be computed separately. Unless otherwise provided by this Zoning Code, the area of signage allowed for each lot frontage shall not be combined and placed on a single frontage to determine the permitted size of signs. For example, a corner lot with 200 ft. of frontage on Street A and 100 ft. of frontage on Street B is not deemed to have 300 ft. of lot frontage on either one street.

The sign area for each street shall be computed separately. Unless otherwise provided by this Zoning Code, the area of signage allowed for each building frontage shall not be combined and placed on a single frontage to determine the permitted size of signs.

The sign area for each store frontage shall be computed separately. Unless otherwise provided by this Zoning Code, the area of signage allowed for each store frontage shall not be combined and placed on a single frontage to determine the permitted size of signs.

(a) In the case of intermediate lots, the width of the lot shall be measured from one side line of the lot to the opposite side line of the lot along the setback line (See § 14-202(17) (Setback Line, Front or Building)).

(b) In the case of lots bounded by two streets that constitute a corner, the width of the lot shall be measured from the side line of the lot to the opposite front line of the lot along the setback line (See § 14-202(17) (Setback Line, Front or Building)).

(c) In the case of lots bounded by three or more streets, the width of the lot shall be measured from one front line of the lot to the opposite front line of the lot along the setback line opposite the rear lot line or, if there is no rear lot line, along the setback line of the shortest frontage. (See § 14-202(17) (Setback Line, Front or Building)).

(d) In the case of flag lots, the width of the lot shall be measured along the front lot line of the "pole" or portion of the lot forward of the front setback line with the least width, generally used for access to the remainder of the lot.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

The total of all gross floor area of a building within interior walls, excluding areas devoted to the following: rubbish rooms and custodian closets, vestibules, stairways, escalators, and elevators; areas used for electrical, telephone, computer, or mechanical equipment; loading docks and receiving areas; non-occupied areas devoted to building structure, support, or aesthetics; mall and concourse areas not occupied by retail kiosks or vendor stands; public seating areas (not including restaurant and café seating); public walkways; and public rest rooms.

The total of the areas of all buildings on the lot. The area of each building is the area of a horizontal section of such building on any floor at or above ground level taken at its greatest outside dimensions, including all structures, except fences and decks. Architectural recesses or other portions of a building wall at street level that are set back from the street line to create building wall articulation shall count as occupied area.

The total areas of the lot that are not counted as occupied area. Alleys, easements, and shared driveways shall be included as part of open area.

Public plaza and open spaces are defined in § 14-203 (Definitions) and are measured as follows for purposes of calculating ground level open spaces eligible for bonus floor area:

(a) Areas at Ground Level.

All areas at the average grade of the street, or no more than three ft. above or below the average grade of the street. When a lot is above or abuts a public transit concourse or station, "at ground level" shall include all areas that are at the station or concourse level and that are connected to the sidewalk by stairs or ramps adequate for convenient public access.

(b) Measurement Includes.

Public plazas and open space areas include:

(.1) Portions of the open spaces occupied by benches, planting boxes, public art, and other ornamental devices and structures that conform to all other sections of this Zoning Code relating to access to public space.

(.2) In Commercial districts, any areas occupied by devices for the display and sale of goods or merchandise that are accessory to the public space of a building and complies with other regulations set forth in this Zoning Code.

(.3) All areas for all means of pedestrian and handicapped access to public spaces or open spaces.

(.4) All areas for seating, landscape, and fine arts provided in order to qualify for additional gross floor area.

(c) Measurement Excludes.

In Residential districts, public plazas and open space areas exclude: any areas occupied by devices or structures used for the advertising or display of goods or merchandise, or portions of ground level upon which a commercial use is conducted.

A seating space in a place of public assembly shall be considered as a fixed permanent seat. In the case of bleachers, benches or the flat tops of walls, seating shall be 18 in. wide and 16 in. deep. Seating 30 in. or more in depth shall count double when access is provided to both sides. In the case of open floor area used for temporary seating purposes, seating area is calculated as one seat per nine sq. ft. of open floor area.

This measurement shall be based on the second story of a building that is fully above grade plane, not measured as including basement, cellar, or other space below grade plane.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, when the provisions of this Zoning Code require that two or more uses be separated by some minimum distance, the separation distance shall be measured from lot line to lot line along the shortest imaginary line between the subject lots. Where uses are required to be separated by some minimum distance from a zoning district boundary, the separation distance shall be measured from the lot line to the zoning district boundary along the shortest imaginary line between the lot and the zoning boundary.

A line parallel to the front lot line at a distance from the front lot line equal to the minimum distance required for building setbacks in each district in which setbacks are required.

Sight triangles include:

(a) A triangle formed by the intersection of one alley or shared driveway with a minimum width of 12 ft. and one street, measured 12 ft. from the intersection along the edges of the street right-of-way and the alley or shared driveway; or

(b) A triangle formed by the intersection of two streets, measured 30 ft. from the intersection along the edges of the two streets.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

Sign area shall be measured as follows:

(a) Generally.

The area of a sign shall be measured by determining a minimum imaginary rectangle parallel to the plane of view that completely encloses any lettering, copy, or illustrations and any background created so as to distinguish the sign or the message contained therein from the building, structure, marquee, awning, or canopy upon which the sign is located, provided that, the sign area of a free-standing sign shall include all elements of the sign structure, except any supporting columns, uprights, or braces. Each face of a sign shall be counted toward the maximum permitted sign area. Embellishments and sign aprons shall be excluded from the measurement of sign area.

(b) Three-Dimensional or Irregularly-Shaped Signs.

(.1) Three-dimensional or irregularly-shaped signs shall be measured by determining the surface area of the face of a minimum imaginary rectangle parallel to the plane of view that completely encloses all of the extremities of the largest side of the sign, excluding its supports. The rectangle shall enclose the extreme limits of each word and written representation, including any series of letters, emblems or figures of similar character, including all frames, face plates, nonstructural trim or other component parts not otherwise used for support.

(.2) If elements of a sign are movable or flexible, such as a flag or a string of lights, the measurement is taken when the elements are fully extended and parallel to the plane of view.

(c) Embellished Area.

The area of an embellishment is computed as the area of the minimum imaginary rectangle parallel to the plane of view that completely encloses the embellishment.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

Parallel and Perpendicular Planes of View

The total amount of sign area permitted on a lot.

The vertical distance from the average ground level at the base of the sign to the top of the sign.

The spacing between sign structures shall be measured as a straight-line distance between the edges of each sign face closest to each other.

The measurement of any lot line contiguous to a confirmed street.

A horizontal level of a structure that is more than 50% above grade plane.

This measurement shall be based on the third floor of a building that is fully above grade plane, not measured as including basement, cellar, or other space below grade plane.

The depth of the front yard is measured from the extreme front of the building to the closest point of the frontmost lot line. In the case of flag lots, the "pole" or portion of the lot forward of the front setback line with the least width, generally used for access to the remainder of the lot, shall be ignored. See also § 14-203(370) (Yard).

The width of the front yard is measured along the shortest possible line extending from one side line of the lot to the opposite side line of the lot, located between the street line and the front of any structure (not including fences). See also § 14-203(370) (Yard).

The total area of the rear yard, except alleys, easements, and shared driveways shall not be included as part of the rear yard area calculation. See also § 14-203(370) (Yard).

The depth of a rear yard is measured from the rearmost portion of the structure to the closest point of the rear lot line or to the nearest line of a street, shared driveway, easement, or alley. See also § 14-203(370) (Yard).

The width of a side yard is measured from the sidemost portion of the structure (not including fences) to the nearest side line of the lot, or to the nearest line of a street, shared driveway, easement, or alley. See also § 14-203(370) (Yard).

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