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§ 14-708. Subdivision Standards.

The subdivision standards of this § 14-708 (Subdivision Standards) are intended to achieve orderly urban development through land subdivision, to promote and develop the utilization of land to assure the best possible urban environment, to cause land subdivision to be in accordance with the adopted plans of the City, and to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the community.

(a) This § 14-708 (Subdivision Standards) shall apply to the activities described in § 14-304(7)(a) (Applicability).

(b) No subdivision shall be commenced and no street, driveway, sanitary sewer, stormwater sewer, water main, or public service or other facilities in connection with the subdivision shall be constructed, maintained, opened, or dedicated for public use, or for the common use of occupants of buildings on those lands, until the applicant has completed a subdivision pursuant to § 14-304(7) (Subdivisions and Subdivision Plats).

(c) No subdivider shall sell any lot in a subdivision, or erect any building upon land in a subdivision, unless and until a subdivision has been completed pursuant to § 14-304(7) (Subdivisions and Subdivision Plats).

The principles, standards, and requirements set forth in this § 14-708 (Subdivision Standards) shall be applied by the Commission in its review of proposed subdivision. These principles and standards are the minimum required and whenever they conflict with any other applicable provision of this Zoning Code, the more restrictive provision shall govern.

(a) Suitability of Land Use.

Land shall be suited to the purposes for which it is to be subdivided and all plans shall be in reasonable conformity with the applicable sections of the Comprehensive Plan and its amendments.

(b) Visitability.

In any subdivision containing 50 or more detached, semi-detached or attached houses, at least 10% of the houses shall be visitable dwelling units, as defined in Chapter 14-200 (Definitions).

(.1) Before the Commission may approve a Preliminary Plat, the Commission shall determine that the proposed subdivision will not preclude 10% of the houses from containing a step-free or accessible ground floor entrance on an accessible route that complies with ICC A117 as adopted in Title 4 (The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code), and that has a maximum slope not to exceed 1:12.

(.2) Before L&I may issue a building permit, L&I shall verify that at least 10% of the houses in the subdivision are visitable dwelling units.

(c) Community Facilities.

If a subdivider reserves an area for community facilities, that area shall be adequate for building sites for those facilities, landscape, and off-street parking as is appropriate to the use proposed.

(d) Larger Developments.

Where development covered by § 14-708(2)(a) above is located on a gross land area of three or more acres, it shall comply with following standards.

(.1) To the maximum extent feasible, it shall connect with the existing street grid.

(.2) Each street frontage of the project site shall include at least one street stub or connection to the external street system every 1,500 ft, where feasible.

(.3) Whenever cul-de-sac streets are created, one 10 ft. wide public utility easement shall be provided between the cul-de-sac head or street turnaround and the sidewalk system of the closest adjacent street located within 300 ft. of the end of the cul-de-sac, unless (1) the Streets Department determines that public access in that location is not practicable due to site or topography constraints, and (2) the Water Department determines that public utility in that location is not practicable due to site or topography constraints.

(a) The length, width, and shape of blocks shall be designed with due regard for topography and drainage, the requirements of the base and overlay zoning districts in which the property is located, suitable building sites for the land use contemplated, and safe and convenient vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle circulation.

(b) All blocks shall be provided with a minimum three ft. wide planting strip adjacent to any public right-of-way.

(c) Reverse frontage lots shall be avoided except where essential to provide separation from traffic arteries or to provide protection for abutting properties or to overcome certain conditions of topography or orientation.

(d) Residential blocks must have sufficient depth to accommodate two tiers of lots, except where reverse frontage lots are required pursuant to § 14-708(4)(c) above.

(e) Interior walkways are required where necessary to facilitate circulation or provide access to community facilities.

(f) Side lot lines shall be substantially at right angles or radial to street lines.

(g) Depth and width of lots laid out or reserved for nonresidential use shall be adequate for the use proposed and shall be of sufficient size to provide for off-street loading, unloading, and parking.

(h) Where no off-lot sewerage or water facilities are available, the allowable lot size shall be determined by the Commission. In fixing the allowable lot size, the Commission shall give consideration to the topography of the site, the location of existing and proposed buildings on the lot and existing buildings on adjacent lots, the location of existing sewerage and water facilities on adjacent property, the water table, the geology and characteristics of the soil, the type and size of proposed sewerage and water facilities, and the estimated use of those facilities.

(a) Streets shall be logically related to the topography so as to produce reasonable grades and suitable building sites and to reduce soil erosion and runoff into waterways.

(b) Proposed streets shall conform to the requirements of all adopted plans for the area and the requirements of this Zoning Code.

(c) Streets shall be constructed in accordance with the standards and requirements of the Streets Department.

(d) Streets in Residential districts shall be laid out to discourage through traffic to the degree consistent with the continuation of existing or proposed major streets or highways.

(e) If lots resulting from original subdivision are large enough to permit re-subdivision, or if a portion of the lot is not subdivided, adequate street rights-of-way to permit further subdivision shall be designated on the submitted preliminary plat.

(f) Where a subdivision abuts or contains an existing or proposed major street or highway, the Commission may require marginal access streets, driveways, reverse frontage lots, or such additional treatment as will reduce the number of intersections with that street or highway, separate local and through traffic, and provide protection for abutting properties.

(g) Dead end streets shall be prohibited, except as short stubs to permit future street extension into adjoining lots, or when designed as cul-de-sacs.

(h) Cul-de-sac streets shall not exceed 500 ft. in length and shall have at the closed end a turn-around containing a right-of-way having an outside radius of not less than 50 ft., which shall be paved to a radius of not less than 40 ft.

(i) Street Widths.

(.1) Minimum street right-of-way and cartway widths shall conform to the Comprehensive Plan or, if not shown on that plan, shall conform to the following:

(.a) Two-Way Streets.

(.i) A primary residential street shall have a cartway 64 ft. wide included in the right-of-way, but in no case shall the right-of-way be less than 88 ft. wide.

(.ii) A secondary residential street shall have a cartway 34 ft. wide included in the right-of-way, but in no case shall the right-of-way be less than 54 ft. wide.

(.iii) A tertiary residential street shall have a cartway 26 ft. wide included in the right-of-way, but in no case shall the right-of-way be less than 50 ft. wide.

(.iv) A marginal access street shall have a cartway 26 ft. wide, included in a right-of-way, but in no case shall the right-of-way be less than 36 ft. wide.

(.b) One-Way Streets.

A one-way street shall have a cartway 20 ft. wide, included in the right-of-way, but in no case shall the right-of-way be less than 44 ft. wide.

(.2) Additional right-of-way and cartway requirements may be established by the Commission in order to lessen congestion in the streets, to secure safety from fire, panic, and other dangers, to facilitate the adequate provision for transportation and other public requirements and to promote the general welfare.

(.3) Short extensions of existing streets with narrower right-of-way or cartway widths may be permitted at the discretion of the Commission.

(j) Street Alignment.

(.1) Whenever street lines are deflected more than five degrees, connection shall be made by horizontal curves.

(.2) To ensure adequate sight distance, center line radii for horizontal curves shall be not less than 150 ft. on primary residential streets and 100 ft. on secondary and tertiary residential streets.

(.3) A tangent of at least 50 ft. shall be required between reverse curves.

(k) Street Grades.

(.1) Centerline grades shall, wherever possible, be not less than 0.75%.

(.2) Centerline grades shall not exceed 10% on primary and secondary residential streets and 12% on tertiary residential streets.

(.3) Vertical curves shall be used at changes of grades exceeding 3% and shall be designed in relation to the extent of the grade change and to provide sight distances of at least 200 ft. on primary residential streets, 150 ft. on secondary residential streets, and 100 ft. on tertiary residential streets.

(.4) Where the grade of any street at the approach to an intersection exceeds 4%, sufficient leveling areas having a maximum grade of 4% shall be provided for a distance of 25 ft. measured from the nearest right-of-way line of the intersecting street.

(l) Street Intersections.

(.1) Streets shall be laid out to intersect as nearly as possible at right angles. No street shall intersect another at an angle of less than 75 degrees.

(.2) Intersections with major streets or major highways should be reduced to a minimum.

(.3) Streets entering opposite sides of another street shall be laid out either directly opposite one another or with a minimum offset of 125 ft. between their center lines.

(.4) Curb radii shall be provided at street intersections varying according to the types of streets intersecting and the angle at which they intersect, but none shall be less than 15 ft.

(m) Sidewalks.

Each proposed public or private street shall include a sidewalk with a clear width of at least five ft. on both sides of the street unless the Streets Department waives the requirement based on public safety or site and topography constraints.

(a) Where permitted, shared driveways shall have a minimum paved width of 15 ft. when serving residential properties on two sides and a minimum paved width of 12 ft. when serving residential properties on one side only.

(b) Shared driveways shall be required in nonresidential subdivisions, except where other adequate provision is made for off-street loading and parking consistent with the use proposed. Where required, shared driveways shall have a minimum paved width of 18 ft.

(c) Dead end shared driveways shall be avoided if possible, but if unavoidable they shall be terminated with a paved turning area having a minimum depth of 35 ft. and a minimum width of 10 ft.

(d) Driveway intersections and sharp changes in alignment shall be avoided. Where necessary, corners shall be rounded or cut back sufficiently to permit safe vehicular circulation.

(e) Easements shall be provided as necessary for public utilities and shall have a minimum width of 10 ft. Easements shall be located on or be adjacent to rear or side lot lines.

(f) Where a subdivision is traversed by a watercourse, a drainage easement or right-of-way conforming substantially to the line of the watercourse and of a width adequate to preserve natural drainage shall be provided. Each drainage easement or right-of-way shall not be less than 25 ft. in width.

(g) Where a subdivision adjoins a park, watercourse, or other land use different from that on the proposed lots, the Commission may require a setback from that park, watercourse, or other land use for the protection of or separation of those land uses. Each setback shall be not less than 10 ft.

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