Late in 2015, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) notified SHCA that the zoning remapping process for Society Hill would be moved up in priority. This important acceleration was accomplished by the Association with the aid of Councilman Mark Squilla. The remapping process is part of the Philadelphia 2035 master plan for the City’s 18 districts. The remapping of Society Hill will help SHCA meet its goal to protect and strengthen the unique characteristics of our historic neighborhood.
SHCA, through its Zoning and Historic Preservation Committee (ZHP), formed a Steering Committee to work with PCPC to develop the Neighborhood Plan. The Plan will be used as a basis for remapping properties that are currently incorrectly classified. The Steering Committee, with input from PCPC, ZHP, and the SHCA Board, decided to hire a local planning and design firm to guide the Association through the project. After an extensive search and interviews with several firms, the Steering Committee hired Philadelphia-based urban planning firm, KSK.
With input from the community, KSK will create a master plan to evaluate all of Society Hill. This evaluation will include our neighborhood from the Delaware River to Eighth Street and from Walnut to Lombard Streets. It will consider appropriate zoning and future development, as well as suggested improvements and maintenance plans for all buildings, parks, and open space. Community input is vital to the success of this plan.
All stakeholders in our neighborhood must be identified first, so that each group may have a voice in the planning. Some stakeholders the Steering Committee has identified are: residents of town homes, condominiums, and apartments; religious institutions and schools; and nonprofits such Pennsylvania Hospital, the Physick and Powel Houses, and the Athenaeum. In addition, we value the input from business owners, as well as Independence National Historic Park, which owns Washington Square and the Magnolia and Rose Garden parks. We welcome, also, the participation of owners and stakeholders of open spaces and memorials such as the Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Vietnam War Memorial, Foglietta Plaza, Three Bears Park, and Head House Square.
At the SHCA January 2017 general membership meeting, the KSK project team presented an analysis of the existing conditions of the Society Hill neighborhood. Here is a look at what current zoning in Society Hill looks like.
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