City Council has passed a zoning ordinance designed to shape future development along the Central Delaware according to the city’s long-range plan for that waterfront. The overlay applies to most properties between Oregon and Allegheny avenues, and the pier head of the Delaware River and the east side of I-95. (Parcels zoned Port Industrial or for casinos are exempt.) Better connecting city neighborhoods to the riverfront with an extended street grid is a key principle of the Central Delaware Master Plan, which was adopted by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
The ordinance designates Dickinson, Christian, Race, Callowhill, and Spring Garden streets and Washington, Frankford and Columbia avenues as River Access Streets, and prohibits the building of permanent structures that would block a continuance of those streets to the river. The overlay requires active uses on ground floor frontages, and that 40 percent of riverfront parcels greater than 5,000 square be kept as open area.
It limits building height to 100 feet, but developers could earn the right to build up to 244 feet in exchange for providing certain public amenities, such as constructing a segment of waterfront trail or building to LEED standards.
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is the quasi-city agency that manages city-owned riverfront property, oversaw the development of the master plan, and participated in the overlay discussions hosted by Councilman Mark Squilla.