Central Places Model Zoning Ordinance

 Home / Departments / Planning Department / Planning Matters / Central Places Model Zoning Ordinance

The new model zoning provides a guide for municipalities of contemporary best practices for local downtown and main street district zoning.

Many downtowns and main streets across the region, referred to as “Central Places” in Delaware County 2035, have experienced renewed vibrancy and economic development. As people gravitate towards these Central Places, it is important for local communities to have zoning ordinances that support appropriate projects and enhance people’s desired experiences. The Central Places Model Zoning Ordinance serves as a guide for local communities to implement a contemporary zoning ordinance and understand the implications of various options within the zoning ordinance text. It includes model text that can be modified to maintain and enhance the unique development and design character of each Central Place while supporting economic development.

The provisions contained in the model zoning ordinance are designed to promote growth and development that will maintain and enhance Central Places or support their revitalization, while preserving their existing scales and designs or building toswards their community visions. The provisions address the design elements that comprise the principal features of Central Places. These features include mixed uses, preservation of historic structures, build-to lines, appropriate building heights, floor area ratios, surface parking design standards, streetscape enhancements, lighting, and other features discussed in Chapter 2.

The model zoning ordinance may be adopted by any municipality in the County that contains a Central Place as described in Delaware County 2035, or as defined by the township or borough. The provisions may be adopted in their entirety as a new zoning district, or selectively incorporated into the existing municipal zoning district of a Central Place.

Central Places, while reflecting common land use principles and design features, also differ in their sizes, scales, functions, and characters. The Model Zoning Ordinance recognizes these differences by providing annotations in the right-hand margins of the text that provide recommended variations in the model provision which are calibrated specifically to Urban, Town, or Neighborhood Centers. The annotations occur at key points in the model ordinance that are related to the design features in Section 2. Annotations noted as “decision points” reflect an opportunity for the community to customize the ordinance to fit its community character.

Questions about the Central Places Model Zoning Ordinance? Contact the Planning Department at 610-891-5200 or Planning_Department@co.delaware.pa.us.

Contact Us

About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

Read more