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September 2015 Archives

Fate of black church building may depend upon historic past

As a city with many buildings built in the first two centuries of its existence, Philadelphia is constantly faced with decisions about how to treat old buildings that may have out-lived their original use. Differences of opinion on this question have started many heartfelt and hard fought real estate disputes in the city. A current example of the City's dilemma is the First African Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.

Small driveway causes large dispute in Chestnut Hill

Sometimes, even a small land use dispute can trigger a larger controversy. The desire of a Chestnut Hill couple to build a small driveway in front of their house may trigger a series of court cases by the local community association to prevent the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Appeals from approving projects that have been rejected by the association's board.

Mansion demolition ends Philadelphia preservation dispute

Philadelphia has many old neighborhoods, and many of the buildings in these neighborhoods - whether they are residential, commercial or industrial - are imbued with historic significance. The historic significance of a particular structure has often been advanced as a reason for denying a rezoning or conditional use permit to prevent demolition of the structure. One such dispute has evidently been resolved by the destruction of the building in question after the zoning board granted the necessary permission.

What is a "nonconformity" in Philadelphia zoning?

The Philadelphia zoning code and the zoning map have changed many times over the years. These rezonings often leave individual buildings or lots that do not meet one or more requirements of the amended code or re-drawn map. The city's zoning code defines such uses and buildings as "nonconformities," and it sets limits on changes or expansions.

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