Not that we want to distract you from playing PHL2035: The Game! (go register if you haven’t already!), but we wanted to give you an update on our implementation efforts for the Lower Northeast District Plan.
As you know, the Planning Department is hard at work on the District Plans. We’ve already completed three (West Park, Lower South, Lower Northeast) and have two more in progress (Central, University/Southwest). That leaves 13 more! However, we aren’t ones to rest on our laurels. Along with our partners in government and the development community, we are busy implementing Philadelphia2035. In the Lower Northeast District Plan, we focused on the Frankford Gateway. The southeastern-most portion of Frankford contains centuries of architectural history, the Frankford Creek, and the most exciting thing to happen to Frankford in a long time—the dynamic reuse of the Globe Dye Works buildings into a community of small business owners, artists, and craftsmen who are once again making things in Frankford.
First Steps taken towards Frankford Creek Greenway
The Frankford Gateway Focus Area seeks to build upon the success of Globe Dye Works by revitalizing more of Frankford’s industrial buildings, developing live/work housing, and completing the Frankford Creek Greenway. The Planning Department, along with our partners at Parks and Recreation, has hired a consultant to perform a feasibility study for the greenway. This important first step will be completed by the end of 2013. Getting the greenway built will be no easy feat. However, we are in it for the long run and this is an important first step. Stay tuned for progress updates throughout the year.
This effort is the first step towards implementation of recommendations LNE 29 and LNE 30.
Rendering of the Frankford Creek Greenway (image credit TTF Watershed Partnership)
Today’s district spotlight focuses on the Lower Northeast District Plan and specifically the plan’s ideas for Castor Avenue. On Tuesday, October 16th, the Lower Northeast District Plan will be presented for adoption at the monthly meeting of the Planning Commission.
We’d like to get your thoughts on what is turning out to be the most controversial (and the only controversial) recommendation in the plan. That controversial recommendation is to change the zoning classification along a 4-block stretch of Castor Avenue in the Oxford Circle neighborhood from a mix of CA-1, CMX-1, and CMX-2 to CMX-2.5 (recommendation # 5). These blocks, from Robbins Street to Unruh Avenue, contain a mix of retail and office uses in one- and two-story buildings. Residential uses above retail stores are few and far between along this stretch of Castor Avenue.
Castor Avenue Existing Conditions
What’s CMX-2.5? Well we’ve covered that in a previous post, but let’s recap. CMX 2.5 is intended to accommodate active, pedestrian-friendly retail and service uses in commercial nodes and along commercial corridors. 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 a more limited range of uses than CMX-2 by not permitting such things as take-out, utilities and services, vehicle repair and services, gas stations, funeral homes, and storage.
CA-1 and CMX-1, which dominate Castor Avenue zoning now, are low density commercial zoning categories. CA-1 is auto-oriented and does not permit a residential aspect; while CMX-1 can be residential only and does not permit sit-down restaurants, some of the most successful businesses on Castor.
Rendering of Castor Avenue with the uses and dimensions allowed by CMX-2.5 zoning illustrated.
So why do we think CMX 2.5 is the right fit for these four blocks of Castor Avenue? Here are our reasons why we feel this change is appropriate:
Hard to believe, but September is almost out the door, and with it goes the public comment period for the Lower Northeast District Plan. We’ve received a lot of great questions, pointed comments, and cool ideas thus far, and you’ve got until October 1 to throw us any other thoughts you may have.
Once adopted, PCPC staff will engage stakeholders in implementing the plan’s recommendations, starting with those deemed to be high-priority for various reasons (Page 65 explains the eight first-out-the-gate steps for implementation) .Check back here for announcements about new grants, partnerships, zoning bills, and other ways that we work with you and our fellow government agencies to MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Today’s district spotlight focuses on the Lower Northeast! If you don’t know why, then you’re obviously not from around here. We’re focusing on LNE because there’s a draft plan out there just waiting for your comments and questions. You’ve got the rest of September to check it out and get back to us.
In the meantime, a LNE-related question for you: What do famous architects Frank Furness, Paul Cret, and Hoffman and Henon have in common? READ MORE
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It’s Tuesday and we’re focusing on the District Plans! Last week, we talked about the integrated planning and zoning process (how you’ll be getting all those cool new zoning district like IRMX, TOD, and CMX 2.5). This week we’re all about the Lower Northeast District Plan like Hidden City was last week. Today the draft of the Lower Northeast District Plan was presented to the Planning Commission and the full draft plan was released on the Phila2035 website. The comment period goes until October 1st so email your thoughts on the draft plan to email@example.com.
If you live in Frankford, Oxford Circle, or Lawncrest, it’s pretty clear why this plan is something you should be aware of as it makes recommendations regarding city-owned facilities and land, infrastructure, and land use and zoning. But what if you don’t live here? Four reasons you should care:
1) The Lower Northeast District has a lot of great housing and maybe one day you’ll join 100,232 people who already live here.
2) You had no idea how diverse the Northeast was and now you want to check out the all the restaurants on Castor Avenue that reflect this ethnic and cultural diversity.
3) Reading this plan lets you know what to expect for your upcoming district plan. This is the first district plan that makes recommendations for the Roosevelt Boulevard and Market-Frankford El, two huge assets that feature heavily in many upcoming districts.
4) Preserving our city’s historical and natural resources is important to you regardless of where you live or work.
Below are some highlights from the Lower Northeast District Plan.