Now for another new zoning district you’ll definitely want for your neighborhood! As part of our “Countdown to the Code” series, Philadelphia Planeto is highlighting changes in the city’s new Zoning Code, which will replace the current code on August 22nd. Today’s Q&A topic: CMX-2.5.
Q: Ok, so you’ve already convinced me on IRMX. Now I can’t wait to have cool neighbors who live in industrial lofts and weld, sleep, and eat in the same space – so do I even have room for another new zoning district?
A: You might already have some coming your way! In the old zoning code many neighborhood commercial corridors had “overlay districts” that modified the underlying base zoning. Now these overlays have become a new base zoning district, CMX 2.5. Fly around the conversion zoning map and see if your “main street” is CMX 2.5! Zoning Conversion Map You’ll see that Passyunk Avenue in South Philly, Main Street in Manayunk, Frankford Avenue in Mayfair, and Chelten and Germantown Avenues in G’town are now zoned CMX 2.5
Q: That really didn’t answer my question. Why would I want this zoning in my neighborhood?
A: Sorry. CMX 2.5 is intended to accommodate active, pedestrian-friendly retail and service uses in commercial nodes and along commercial corridors.
The old commercial corridor overlays shared a lot in common, like no front-yard setbacks, height minimums, and no auto-oriented uses. The overlays acted like patches on the old code that didn’t quite fit the needs of walkable neighborhood shopping streets. Now all the commonalities found in the overlays are in CMX 2.5, but a few of the previous overlays still exist when it come to their unique controls.
Q: I want the details now. I’m also a very visual person – how about a drawing?
A: CMX 2.5 has a zero front-yard setback, a 25-foot building-height minimum, and a building maximum of 55 feet! It also permits more limited uses than CMX-2 (the next commercial mixed use down) by not permitting such things as take-out, utilities and services, vehicle repair and services, gas stations, funeral homes, and storage.
Q: I live near a commercial corridor and it looks more like the “before”, CMX 2, than the “after”, CMX 2.5. And East Harbington Avenue is not automatically getting changed to CMX 2.5 with the zoning conversion map. How does my neighborhood know if this 2.5 is the right fit?
A: I’m not sure where East Harbington Avenue is, but the answer will be found in your area’s District Plan! Zoning remapping is part of the “integrated planning and zoning process” and we just wrote a post about it. How handy!
And here’s a great example proposed in the draft Lower Northeast District Plan. Lower Northeast has experienced major population growth in the past 20 years (over 10,000 additional residents) with no comparable increase in housing units. People see Lower Northeast as having many neighborhoods of choice, but there is little vacancy to handle new housing demand. So we turned to the Lower Northeast’s commercial corridors which are low-rise, often auto-oriented, and have fair amounts of retail vacancy to accommodate housing demand by proposing CMX 2.5 to allow building up!
Oh, and Castor Avenue has great Brazilian food too. http://www.picanhagrill.com/ Yummy – it’s time to start training for the Summer 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro!
Q: I do love renderings. The only thing that would make that rendering better is a cat wearing a streetscape.
A: Er, thanks. We can’t tell if you’re making fun of us or really, really love us. Either way you’re reading our posts!