R-9

UPDATE:  On August 22, 2012, the City of Philadelphia enacted a New Philadelphia Zoning Code.  R-9 districts are now called “RM-1.”  Click here for our RM-1 Zoning Guide.  R-9A districts are now called “RSA-5.”  Click here for our RSA-5 Zoning Guide.

If you filed a zoning application before August 22, 2012, information about the old zoning code is below:

Generally, R-9 districts allow for single family dwellings, duplexes, and multi-family dwellings (and places of worship) which are detached, semi-detached, or attached.  Some uses require a Use Registration Permit; some do not.  Some uses require a Certificate or Variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The uses allowed in R-9 districts are listed below.  Also listed below are the restrictions for building sizes and signs.  If you have any questions or would like to speak with an attorney, visit our contact page.  Otherwise, once you have determined which documentation you need for your proposed use, please proceed to step 3.

Uses Allowed Without a Use Registration Permit

The following uses do not require a Use Registration Permit or Certificate or Variance:

  • Single family dwelling, detached
  • Single family dwelling, semi-detached
  • Single family dwelling, attached
  • Place of worship, detached
  • Place of worship, semi-detached
  • Place of worship, attached

Uses Allowed With a Use Registration Permit

The following uses require a Use Registration Permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspection:

  • Duplex/two family dwelling, detached
  • Duplex/two family dwelling, semi-detached
  • Duplex/two family dwelling, attached
  • Multi-family dwelling, detached
  • Multi-family dwelling, semi-detached
  • Multi-family dwelling, attached
  • Agriculture except commercial handling of farm stock/poultry, commercial greenhouses, and sale of farm/horticultural products
  • Architect’s office. Office must be in the architect’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Chapel. Chapel must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed above and off-street parking regulations below.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Chiropractor’s office. Office must be located in the chiropractor’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Church. Church must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Convent. Convent must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.)
  • Day care for less than 10 hours per week. Day care must be in the residence of the day care provider.
  • Day care without charge or reimbursement.  Day care must be in the residence of the day care provider.
  • Day care for four or fewer children in one family. Day care must be in the residence of the day care provider.  Day care cannot be for longer than 24 consecutive hours.  The day care providers must conform to all city and state licensing and registration requirements.  Day care must be conducted in completely enclosed structure.
  • Day care for six or fewer children in one family. Day care must be in the residence of the day care provider.  Day care cannot be for longer than 24 consecutive hours.  The day care providers must conform to all city and state licensing and registration requirements.  Day care must be conducted in completely enclosed structure.  This type of day care is not permitted in City Council District 6 and City Council District 10.  Find your property’s City Council District from the Committee of Seventy.
  • Day care as an accessory use to a church or place of worship. Day care must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed above and off-street parking regulations below.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building. This type of day care is not permitted in City Council District 6 and City Council District 10.  Find your property’s City Council District from the Committee of Seventy.
  • Dentist’s office. Office must be in the dentist’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Doctor’s office. Office must be in the doctor’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Electric transforming substation. The exterior architectural design must be “of a residential character.”  It must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.  The building cannot be used for the storage of equipment or vehicles or for other commercial purposes.
  • Gas regulating substation. The exterior architectural design must be “of a residential character.”  It must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.  The building cannot be used for the storage of equipment or vehicles or for other commercial purposes.
  • Horticulture except commercial handling of farm stock/poultry, commercial greenhouses, and sale of farm/horticultural products.
  • Lawyer’s office. Office must be in the lawyer’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Minister’s office. Office must be in the minister’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Monastery. Monastery must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Municipal art gallery. Gallery be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Municipal museum. Museum must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Municipal library. Library must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Optometrist’s office. Office must be in the optometrist’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Osteopathic doctor’s office. Office must be in the doctor’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Place of worship. Place of worship must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Podiatrist’s office. Office must be in the doctor’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Psychologist’s office. Office must be in the psychologist’s home, with only 1 regularly-employed assistant and no colleagues or associates.
  • Railroad passenger station. Station must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400  of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Residential dwellings adjunct to a church and place of worship. Dwelling must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Any existing building being converted must comply with area regulations listed below and off-street parking regulations listed in chapter 14-1400 of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.  Also, off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.
  • Sewer booster substation. The exterior architectural design must be “of a residential character.”  It must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.  The building cannot be used for the storage of equipment or vehicles or for other commercial purposes.
  • Telephone exchange building. The exterior architectural design must be “of a residential character.”  It must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.  The building cannot be used for the storage of equipment or vehicles or for other commercial purposes.
  • Water booster substation. The exterior architectural design must be “of a residential character.”  It must be in a completely enclosed, detached building. Off-street parking cannot be located between the street and the front wall of the existing building.  The building cannot be used for the storage of equipment or vehicles or for other commercial purposes.
  • Accessory use. If the property has a use allowed in this district, another subordinate use may be allowed on the same lot if it is “customarily incidental” to the main use of the property.

Uses Allowed With a Certificate

The following uses require a Certificate from the Zoning Board of Adjustment:

  • Art gallery. Gallery must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Any sales must be limited to catalogues, books, prints, postcards, and “kindred items.”  Sales must be subordinate to the main use as a gallery.
  • Charitable institution. Institution must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Club house. Club house must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Service must be conducted solely for the use of members and guests and is not a business operation for profit.
  • College
  • Convalescent home. Home must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Electric transforming substation. Open air facilities cannot be within 50 feet from any lot line and must have a green belt at least 4 feet high containing evergreens, shrubbery and/or trees to be planted and maintained in an area at least 10 feet in depth around the entire inside perimeter of the lot, except at points of entry.  No storage of equipment or vehicles.
  • Dormitory adjacent to an institution of learning
  • Fire station. Station must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Fraternity house. House must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Service must be conducted solely for the use of members and guests and is not a business operation for profit.
  • Gas regulating substation. Open air facilities cannot be within 50 feet from any lot line and must have a green belt at least 4 feet high containing evergreens, shrubbery and/or trees to be planted and maintained in an area at least 10 feet in depth around the entire inside perimeter of the lot, except at points of entry.  No storage of equipment or vehicles.
  • Home occupation. Occupation must “customarily and traditionally” be conducted in a dwelling.  Property must be used as a dwelling with the occupation as an incidental use.  Occupation must be conducted solely by members of the family residing in the same dwelling without the employment of other persons.  No signs or public advertising.  No exterior storage of materials.  No exterior indications of the home occupation.  No variation from the residential appearance of the structure.  Occupation can only be conducted between the hours of 10:00 pm and 8:00 am.  No use of equipment producing offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat or glare.  Occupation can only take up 25 percent of the total floor area of the building, including basements, or 250 square feet, whichever is less.  No storage of stock in trade nor the sale of commodities on the premises.
  • Institution of learning
  • Library. Library must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Any sales must be limited to catalogues, books, prints, postcards, and “kindred items.”  Sales must be subordinate to the main use as a library.
  • Lodge. Lodge must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Service must be conducted solely for the use of members and guests and is not a business operation for profit.
  • Medical center. Center must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Medical hospital. Hospital must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Municipal recreation center
  • Museum. Museum must be in completely enclosed, detached building.  Any sales must be limited to catalogues, books, prints, postcards, and “kindred items.”  Sales must be subordinate to the main use as a museum.
  • Nursery. Nursery must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Nursing home. Home must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Old age home. Home must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Playground adjacent to an institution of learning
  • Police station. Station must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Rest home. Home must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Sanitarium. Sanitarium must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • School
  • Sewage pumping station. Station must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Shelter for bus or trolley passengers
  • Surgical hospital. Hospital must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • University
  • Waiting room for bus or trolley passengers
  • Water pumping station. Station must be in completely enclosed, detached building.
  • Water reservoir
  • Water storage tank

Uses Which Require a Variance

Any use not listed above requires a Variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  Those uses include:

  • Multiple buildings per lot
  • Non-residential uses not listed above

Size Restrictions

  • Minimum lot width: 16 feet
  • Minimum lot area: 1,440 sq. feet
  • Minimum open area of lot: 30 percent (20 percent on a corner lot)
  • Minimum set-back (minimum front yard depth): 8 feet deep
  • Minimum side yard for detatched single family dwellings and duplexes: 5 feet wide on each side
  • Minimum side yard for detatched single family dwellings and duplexes on corner lots: 5 feet wide
  • Minimum side yard for semi-detatched single family dwellings and duplexes: 5 feet wide
  • Minimum side yard for attached single family dwellings and duplexes: 0 feet (Properties do not require any side yard, but any side yard must be at least 5 feet wide)
  • Minimum side yard for attached multi-family dwellings: 0 feet (Properties do not require any side yard, but any side yard must be at least 8 feet wide)
  • Minimum side yard for detatched non-residential buildings: 8 feet wide on each side
  • Minimum side yard for detatched non-residential buildings on corner lots: 8 feet wide
  • Minimum rear yard depth: 9 feet deep
  • Minimum rear yard area for single family dwellings: 144 sq. feet
  • Minimum rear yard areafor multi-family dwellings: 144 sq. feet for the first family, plus 100 sq. feet for each additional family
  • Maximum height of residential buildings: 35 feet tall
  • Maximum height of non-residential buildings: 35 feet tall plus 1 additional foot for every additional foot of set-back, up to 60 feet total
  • Maximum number of stories for residential buildings: 3

Signs

  • “For sale” or “for rent” signs can only be displayed for one year.  The total area of “for sale” or “for rent” signs cannot exceed 12 square feet for each 50 feet of street lines of the lot.  No matter how large the lot, the total area of “for sale” or “for rent” signs cannot exceed 300 square feet.
  • Residences which also include a permitted business (such as day care in the provider’s home) can have a sign for each street the property faces.  Such signs cannot be larger than 150 square inches on each face.  Signs cannot have more than two faces.  Signs cannot be above the roof line or in the yard.  Signs can be illuminated by interior lighting or lighting directed toward the sign if there is no glare on adjacent lots.  Signs cannot be illuminated by flashing, animated or intermittent illumination.
  • Non-residential buildings (such as churches and institutions) can have a 15 square foot sign for each street the property faces.  Signs cannot be above the roof line or in the yard.  Signs can be illuminated by interior lighting or lighting directed toward the sign if there is no glare on adjacent lots.  Signs cannot be illuminated by flashing, animated or intermittent illumination.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with an attorney, visit our contact page.  Otherwise, once you have determined which documentation you need for your proposed use, please proceed to step 3.

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