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§ 14-504. /Nco, Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District.

The /NCO, Neighborhood Conservation Overlay district is intended to:

(a) Promote the public welfare of the City by encouraging conservation and preservation through the revitalization of the physical environment that is unique to a specific neighborhood;

(b) Provide a reasonable degree of control over the alteration and improvement of the exterior facades of existing buildings and the design of new construction to preserve the aesthetic fabric of these areas, without modifying the availability of permitted and special exception uses in the neighborhood pursuant to Chapter 14-600 (Use Regulations);

(c) Enhance the City's attractiveness as a place to live, work, and enjoy its cultural, social, and historical opportunities and also to foster a renewed feeling of pride in one's neighborhood;

(d) Complement the goals of the Commission and the Historical Commission as they seek to develop, revitalize, preserve, and conserve the many diverse and historic neighborhoods of the City; and

(e) Promote building improvements and maximize the economic, social, and educational value of neighborhood transformation.

The design guidelines adopted as part of each /NCO district may address building and site design, but may not address the availability of permitted and special exception uses pursuant to Chapter 14-600 (Use Regulations), related to any of the following:

(a) Alterations to architectural features of existing buildings that are visible from a public street;

(b) The new construction or expansion of a building; and

(c) Construction of a new building or use of a vacant property after substantial demolition of an existing building on a property.

(a) No building permit shall be issued to construct a building or alter the exterior of a building that is visible from a public street until the Commission has reviewed the application and confirmed that it complies with all regulations applicable to the applicable /NCO district area.

(b) If the Commission does not make a written decision to approve or deny the building permit application within 30 days of the date that it receives an application, the Commission will be deemed to have approved the application without conditions.

(c) The Commission's decision shall not be subject to appeal separately from an appeal to the Board of License and Inspection Review of L&I's decision on the building permit application.

(a) In the event any portion of an approved /NCO district is included in a historic district designated by the Historical Commission pursuant to Chapter 14-1000 (Historic Preservation), all design or development standards and all review and approval procedures listed in this § 14-504 (/NCO, Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District) shall be of no further force or effect for the portion of the /NCO included within the historic district, except as indicated in § 14-504(4)(b) below.

(b) § 14-504(4)(a) above shall not apply to any property within the historic district that is not individually designated in the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places and upon which no building or structure (not including foundations, parking kiosks, storage sheds, fences, walls, and gates) exists at the time of designation of the historic district.

(a) District Boundaries.

The Queen Village /NCO district contains the area bounded by the north side of Washington Avenue, the properties on the north side of Bainbridge Street (inclusive), the east side of 6th Street and the west side of Front Street, except for any property within the South Street/Head House Square area set forth in § 14-502(2)(b)(.22), as shown on the following map for illustrative purposes only.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(b) Area Regulations for Residential Structures.

These regulations will apply to residentially-zoned properties, regardless of use, and to properties that are permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use.

(.1) Building Setback Line.

Buildings with legal street frontage must have no front setback, except buildings with one street frontage of 20 ft. or more and buildings on corner lots may have front setbacks from all street frontages only if a fence wall is constructed upon the property line where the setback is used, and the space between the fence wall and the building contains at least one tree as approved in the DPR plantings list.

(.2) Height Regulations.

On streets with a width of 21 ft. or less, including the cartway and legal sidewalks, new construction may not exceed 22 ft. in height to a cornice line, before either:

(.a) Recessing on a plane, a minimum of 45 degrees, to the maximum height allowable in the underlying zoning district or any applicable zoning overlay district; or

(.b) Stepping back from the front property line eight ft. to a vertical wall that may extend to the maximum height allowable in the underlying zoning district or any applicable zoning overlay district.

(c) Design Guidelines for Residential Structures.

These regulations will apply to residentially-zoned properties, regardless of use, and to properties that are permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use.

(.1) Requirements for Both New Construction and Alterations.

(.a) Where street frontage of a new building exceeds 20 ft. on a single street or where an existing building is extended to exceed 20 ft. on a single street, the facade facing that street must be broken up by offset planes, roofline variations, or other architectural features including, but not limited to, bay windows or setbacks.

(.b) Residential buildings must have a habitable room on the front of the first floor. A habitable room shall be defined as in the Property Maintenance Code, Section PM-202.0.

(.c) New utility meters must be hidden from view from the street frontage.

(.2) Windows.

Windows along the street front of first floor habitable rooms must comply with the following:

(.a) Have a maximum height of four ft. six in. from the bottom windowsill to the sidewalk;

(.b) The overall window height must be at least four ft. from sill to head; and

(.c) The minimum aggregate width of the window, in lineal ft., must be at least 33% of the total lineal frontage of the first floor.

(.3) Parking.

(.a) Front garages will only be permitted where there is a habitable room on the first floor and the window requirements for that habitable room are met.

(.b) Open-air parking spaces may not be visible from the street frontage.

(.c) New curb cuts may not exceed 10 ft. in width for a single space, and 20 ft. for a double space.

(.d) For new construction of two or more units within a row, parking spaces or garages must be placed directly adjacent to one another, except where the Commission determines it impracticable.

(.4) Roof Decks.

Roof decks must be setback at least eight ft. from the front property line, or a parapet at least 42 in. high may be used to enclose the front of the deck.

(.5) Materials.

(.a) Vinyl, stucco, or cement board siding may not be used on the front facade of a building, with the exception of garage doors, main doors, and fenestration.

(.b) Projecting bay windows that face a street may not be constructed of stucco.

(.c) Parking lots may not be constructed of asphalt or slab concrete paving materials.

(.d) Rear walls of buildings must be faced with masonry materials, including stucco, but if the rear of a structure is visible from a street, the material used must be consistent with the front facade of the building.

(.e) Railings for roof decks may be up to 50% opaque and may not be constructed of unfinished wood.

(.f) Fences may not be constructed of unfinished wood or chain link fencing materials.

(.g) A light illuminating the sidewalk must be installed adjacent to the front door of all newly constructed front facades. The illumination must be controlled via a timer.

(d) Design Guidelines for Commercially-Zoned and Industrially-Zoned Structures.

The regulations of this § 14-504(5)(d) will apply to commercially- or industrially-zoned properties other than properties permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use. They apply to new construction and alterations.

(.1) Building Setback Line.

Buildings with legal street frontage may not have front setbacks.

(.2) Parking and Loading.

New off-street parking and loading areas must not be visible from the main street frontage.

(.3) Materials.

The materials used in the construction of a new structure or facade must be of similar material to that used on the nearest residential structures fronting on the same street as the property under review.

(a) Purpose.

The Overbrook Farms /NCO district is established in order to preserve and protect this area of the city. It is recognized that this section of the city, located primarily within the Overbrook Farms National Historic District, is a unique mixed-use, neighborhood-oriented retail district containing residential uses and retail uses interspersed at street level and upper floor residential uses. There is a need to establish special sign and building controls to protect the unique character of the district, foster the preservation of buildings in accordance with its special character, and encourage new compatible development.

(b) Applicability.

The requirements of this Overbrook Farms /NCO district apply to all lots within the boundaries shown on the following map.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(c) Additional Permitted Uses.

On RSA-3-zoned lots fronting on 63rd Street, office and financial services uses, except for personal credit establishments, are permitted in addition to uses allowed by the underlying zoning.

(d) Design Standards.

The Overbrook Farms design standards of this subsection apply to all properties within Overbrook Farms /NCA Overlay district except for those properties fronting on City Avenue between Drexel Road and Overbrook Avenue.

(.1) Building Standards.

(.a) Original materials, including storefronts, windows, walls, cornices, bays, and roofs of buildings, shall be repaired or replaced with materials or details similar to the original materials.

(.b) The design of new buildings shall be consistent with the character defining features of the Overbrook Farms National Historic District, in terms of massing, vertical and horizontal articulation, proportion of window openings to wall area, and building materials.

(a) Purpose.

The Central Roxborough/NCO intends to protect the existing walkable character of the frontages in the Central Roxborough section of Philadelphia. Walkability serves the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens by providing human-scaled design, interesting and pedestrian friendly facades, and "eyes on the street," all in close proximity to useful commercial destinations, parks, and transit.

These blocks and streets were selected for their relatively intact historic pattern. The design of new buildings should be consistent with the character-defining features of this overlay district, in terms of massing, vertical and horizontal articulation, fenestration proportions, and building materials.

(b) Applicability.

The Central Roxborough/NCO applies to properties in the area generally bounded by Gates Street (both sides), Ridge Avenue, Hermitage Street, Manayunk Avenue (both sides), Green Lane (both sides), Dexter Street (both sides), Lyceum Avenue, Manayunk Avenue (both sides), Roxborough Avenue (both sides), Ridge Avenue, Dupont Street (both sides), Lawnton Street, Green Lane, Jannette Street, Monastery Avenue, and Henry Avenue, except for the parcels located in the Ridge Avenue/NCA, as shown on the following map for illustrative purposes only.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(c) Area and Form Regulations for Residential Structures.

These regulations shall apply to residentially-zoned properties and to properties permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use.

(.1) Building Setback Line.

The front setback shall be no further from the street than the furthest front facade of the principal building on either of the two immediately abutting lots, and shall be located no closer to the primary street than the closest front facade of the principal building on either of the two immediately abutting lots. If both of the immediately abutting lots are vacant, then the setback range shall be based on the building that is closest to the subject property and on the same blockface. Where there are not a sufficient number of lots that meet these criteria to establish a front setback, the front setback shall adhere to the standards set by the underlying zoning district.

(.2) Building Height.

If at least one abutting lot on either side of a house contains only two stories of habitable space, the stories above the second story of the house shall be set back an additional eight ft. from the minimum required setback; except this requirement shall not apply to corner lots.

(.3) Design Standards.

(.a) The principal building shall have a habitable room on the front of the first floor with at least one window facing the street. A habitable room shall be defined as in the Property Maintenance Code, Section PM-202.0.

(.b) Porches are permitted on all blocks and may be located in the required front setback. Porches shall be required if at least one of the immediately abutting lots contains a porch. Porches shall be a minimum of 5 ft. in depth, as measured from the front wall of the enclosed main structure, out toward the front property line.

(.c) New utility meters and HVAC equipment located on frontages shall be screened with landscaping, fences, or walls. Any other utility structures and their conduits facing a frontage shall be painted to match the wall or otherwise have their visibility minimized. This provision shall not apply to satellite dishes less than one meter in diameter or window air conditioning units.

(.d) Flush mounted windows shall be prohibited. Sills must project from the wall a minimum of one inch.

(.4) Impervious Surface Coverage.

The impervious coverage for front yards shall not exceed 30% of the area of the front yard. Porches shall be excluded from the front yard impervious coverage total.

(.5) Materials.

(.a) For new construction, the following front building facade materials shall be prohibited - vinyl siding, aluminum siding, and synthetic stucco.

(.b) Retaining walls and garden walls located along a street frontage shall not be constructed of concrete masonry units (CMUs) unless capped and covered with stone, cultured stone, stucco, or brick.

(.c) Fences or fence walls located along a street frontage shall be iron, stone, cultured stone, stucco, brick, painted wood, or finished wood. Chain link and vinyl fences are prohibited on frontages.

(.d) Windows in masonry, brick, brick veneer, or stone veneer walls, with or without stucco veneer, shall be inset a minimum of three inches.

(.6) Parking.

(.a) Parking in the front yard and front loaded parking garages shall be prohibited.

(.b) Curb cut width shall be limited to 12 ft.

(d) Area and Form Regulations for Commercial Structures.

These regulations shall apply to commercially or residentially zoned properties used for retail sales or an eating and drinking establishment.

(.1) The front entrance shall have a zero-step entry at the front door.

(.2) Street frontage shall have minimum 50% clear glass on the facade between the area 2 ft. and 10 ft. above the sidewalk. This shall apply to the first 10 ft. horizontally from the corner of each facade of a corner property, and to the entirety of the width of a mid-block property.

(.3) Awnings, if provided, shall be a minimum of 3 ft. in depth, as measured from the front facade of the building to the curb line.

(a) Applicability.

The Ridge Park Roxborough/NCO applies to properties in the area generally bounded by Ridge Avenue, Paoli Avenue, Silverwood Street, Parker Avenue (including, for the first 1,357 ft. from Silverwood Street, both sides of Parker Avenue), Smick Street, Fountain Street, Fowler Street, Hermitage Street, Wilde Street, Leverington Street, Silverwood Street, Hermitage Street, Manayunk Avenue (extended), Gates Street, Pechin Street, and Fountain Street, except for the parcels with frontage upon Ridge Avenue, as shown on the following map for illustrative purposes only.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(b) Area and Form Regulations for Residential Structures.

These regulations shall apply to residentially-zoned properties and to properties permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use.

(.1) Building Setback Line.

The front setback shall be no further from the street than the furthest front facade of the principal building on either of the two immediately abutting lots, and shall be located no closer to the primary street than the closest front facade of the principal building on either of the two immediately abutting lots. If both of the immediately abutting lots are vacant, then the setback range shall be based on the building that is closest to the subject property and on the same blockface. Where there are not a sufficient number of lots that meet these criteria to establish a front setback, the front setback shall adhere to the standards set by the underlying zoning district.

(.2) Building Height.

If at least one abutting lot on either side of a residential building contains only two stories of habitable space, the stories above the second story of the building shall be set back an additional eight ft. from the minimum required setback; except this requirement shall not apply to corner lots.

(.3) Design Standards.

(.a) Residential buildings shall have a habitable room on the front of the first floor with at least one window facing the street. A habitable room shall be defined as in the Property Maintenance Code, Section PM-202.0.

(.b) Porches are permitted on all blocks and may be located in the required front setback. Porches shall be required if at least one of the immediately abutting lots contains a porch. Porches shall be a minimum of 5 ft. in depth, as measured from the front facade of the enclosed main structure, out toward the front property line.

(.c) New utility meters and HVAC equipment located on frontages shall be screened with landscaping, fences, or walls. Any other utility structures and their conduits facing a frontage shall be painted to match the wall or otherwise have their visibility minimized. This provision shall not apply to satellite dishes less than one meter in diameter or window air conditioning units.

(.d) Flush mounted windows shall be prohibited along street frontages. Sills must project from the wall a minimum of one inch.

(.4) Impervious Surface Coverage.

The impervious coverage for front yards shall not exceed 30% of the area of the front yard. Porches shall be excluded from the front yard impervious coverage total.

(.5) Materials.

(.a) For new construction, the following front building facade materials shall be prohibited – vinyl siding, aluminum siding, and synthetic stucco.

(.b) Retaining walls and garden walls located along a street frontage shall not be constructed of concrete masonry units (CMUs) unless capped and covered with stone, cultured stone, stucco, or brick.

(.c) Fences or fence walls located along a street frontage shall be iron, stone, cultured stone, stucco, brick, painted wood, or finished wood. Chain link and vinyl fences are prohibited on frontages.

(.d) Windows in masonry, brick, brick veneer, or stone veneer walls, with or without stucco veneer, shall be inset a minimum of three inches.

(.6) Parking.

(.a) Parking in the front yard and front loaded parking garages shall be prohibited.

(.b) Curb cut width shall be limited to 12 ft.

(a) Applicability.

The Powelton Village /NCO applies to the properties bounded by 35th Street, Spring Garden Street, 31st Street, Powelton Avenue, 32nd Street, Summer Street, Natrona Street, Powelton Avenue, 34th Street, and Lancaster Avenue, as shown on the following map ("Zone 1") for illustrative purposes only; and to the properties bounded by 39th Street, Spring Garden Street, 35th Street, Lancaster Avenue, 36th Street, Warren Street, 37th Street, Lancaster Avenue, Powelton Avenue, 38th Street, and Lancaster Avenue, as shown on the following map ("Zone 2") for illustrative purposes only.

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(b) Area and Form Regulations for Residential Structures.

These regulations shall apply to residentially-zoned properties and to properties permitted by L&I for exclusive residential use.

(.1) Building Setback Line.

Where a new building is attached to an existing structure, the setback of the primary facade of the new structure shall match the setback of the primary facade of the existing adjacent structure, unless a greater setback is required by the Zoning Code.

(.2) Building Height.

Notwithstanding other sections of the Zoning Code, the height of a new structure shall be limited to three stories, and thirty-five (35) feet.

(.3) Fenestration.

(.a) For all new construction, windows along the street frontage of the first floor shall:

(.i) have an overall window height of at least five feet from sill to head, and;

(.ii) have a minimum aggregate width, in lineal feet, of at least 25% of the total lineal frontage of the first floor.

(.b) Where a building permit is required, replacement windows on existing structures facing a public right-of-way shall maintain at least 90% of the glazing for the windows that they replace.

(.c) Where a building permit is required, flush mounted windows shall be prohibited for all facades or portions of facades with masonry exteriors. In such facades, windows shall be inset a minimum of two inches from the exterior face. For all other facade materials, windows must either be recessed a minimum of two inches from the exterior face or they must include a head and sill or window surround of a contrasting material projecting from the adjacent exterior face of the facade by at least one inch.

(.4) Utilities.

New utility meters and HVAC equipment located on frontages shall be screened with landscaping, fences, or walls. Any other utility structures and their conduits facing a frontage shall be painted to match the wall or otherwise have their visibility minimized. This provision shall not apply to satellite dishes less than one meter in diameter or window air conditioning units.

(.5) Impervious Coverage.

The impervious coverage for front and rear yards shall not exceed fifty percent (50%). Open, roofed porches shall be excluded from this calculation.

(.6) Screening of Refuse Containers.

It is encouraged that new multifamily buildings provide interior trash storage areas, or exterior screened enclosures attached permanently to the building and installed into the ground so that waste receptacles are not visible from the public right-of-way. Such storage areas and enclosures shall not be permitted in the required front setback of a property or within the public right-of-way.

(.7) Cornices.

New semi-detached buildings shall include a cornice where the existing, attached structure includes a cornice. The depth, height and alignment of the new cornice shall match that of the existing, adjacent structure.

(.8) Porches.

(.a) Where a new building is attached to an existing structure that includes a porch, the new structure shall also include a porch. The new porch must match the existing depth, roofline, and floorline of the existing adjacent porch.

(.b) Existing porches at the front of a building shall not be enclosed to make interior living space, unless enclosed with at least 80% of facade consisting of transparent glass.

(.c) Accessible or visitable units are exempt from the requirements of this subsection (.8).

(.9) Materials.

(.a) For new construction, the following building facade materials shall be prohibited on any facade that is visible from a public right-of-way – vinyl siding, horizontal aluminum siding, highly textured stucco, exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), and concrete masonry units (CMU).

(.b) Retaining walls and garden walls located along a street frontage shall not be constructed of concrete masonry units (CMUs) unless capped and covered with stone, cultured stone, stucco, or brick.

(.c) Fences or fence walls located along a street frontage shall not be constructed of chain link or concrete masonry units (CMU).

(.d) New porches or decks erected in the front yard shall not be constructed of unpainted, pressure treated wood.

(.e) Projecting bay windows that face a street may not be constructed of stucco.

(c) Area and Form Regulations for Commercial Structures.

These regulations shall apply to commercially-zoned properties, unless covered by subsection (b).

(.1) Building Facades.

For all new construction and for all facade alterations that require a building permit, where a street frontage of a new building or building subject to facade alteration exceeds 20 feet on a single street, the facade facing that street shall be broken up by at least one offset plane making up at least 15% of that facade. Architectural features including, but not limited to, bay windows, cornices, recesses, overhangs, and any other variations in planes with a minimum dimension of at least 18 inches, from the primary facade plane, may be used to meet this requirement.

(.2) Fenestration.

(.a) For new construction, windows of first floor habitable space, as defined in the Property Maintenance Code - Section PM-202, that face a street frontage shall:

(.i) have an overall window height of at least six feet from sill to head, and;

(.ii) at the primary facade, have a minimum aggregate width in lineal feet of at least 66% of the total lineal frontage of the first floor.

(.3) Utilities.

New utility meters and HVAC equipment located on frontages shall be screened with landscaping, fences, or walls. Any other utility structures and their conduits facing a frontage shall be painted to match the wall or otherwise have their visibility minimized. This provision shall not apply to satellite dishes less than one meter in diameter or window air conditioning units.

(.4) Materials.

For new construction, the following front building facade materials shall be prohibited – vinyl siding, horizontal aluminum siding, highly textured stucco, exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), and concrete masonry units (CMU).

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