Zoning in Philadelphia

5 Replies

Hey @Chris Terry ,

that all depends on whether or not the use would be permitted by-right. If you're willing to share the address, I can do a quick analysis for you. would this be new construction, renovation, legalizing existing?

If you do not need a variance, you the review time is 21 working days (or 15 for single family & duplex). You could pay to accelerate that application (I believe for $420) which knocks the review time down to 10 working days. 

If you need a variance, before the shut down, you were looking at 3 months minimum, but now, who knows..... 

@Michael Lutes ,

The short answer is this:

[1] In the RM-1 district, the minimum lot area required per dwelling unit is as follows, provided that, whenever the calculation of permitted number of dwelling units results in a fraction of a dwelling unit, then the number of permitted dwelling units shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number: 325(.a) A minimum 360 sq. ft. of lot area is required per dwelling unit for the first 1,440 sq. ft. of lot area.(.b) A minimum of 480 sq. ft. of lot area is required per dwelling unit for the lot area in excess of 1,440 sq. ft.; provided that, if the green roof conditions set forth at § 14-602(7) are met, the number of units allowed is 25% greater than indicated by the foregoing lot size requirements, applied prior to the inclusion of any other applicable increases in allowable units.

Click the link below for zoning use chart: (Table 14-602-1.A)


You also have to check if you are located in an overlay district. Some overlay districts have restrictions on multifamily uses. You can see if you are in an overlay district on Atlas within the "zoning" tab. If any overlays are listed, you can click on the link provided in atlas which will take you to that section of the zoning code.

Hope this helps,


Yeah, those small RM-1 lots are a siren call..... It's a good thing that you were smart enough to do your due diligence first. Many are not, and don't find this information out until it's too late. Best of luck.