Community Development Definitions

Here is a list of definitions that help us navigate talks with city council, developers, etc.

  • Affordable Housing: In the United States, the term affordable housing is used to describe housing, rental or owner-occupied, that is affordable no matter that one’s income is. The U.S. government regards housing costs at or below 30% of one’s income to be affordable.
  • By-right: Projects which are allowed by the zoning code are known as by-right developments. Every parcel and property in the city of Philadelphia falls into a distinct category of the zoning code which can be found by searching the address in the City Atlas.
  • Community Benefits Agreement (CBA): A contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer to provide specific amenities and/or bring benefit to the local community or neighborhood.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): An agency of the United States federal government whose mission is to protect human and environmental health.
  • Green Demolition: Seeking to reuse as many demolished materials as possible.
  • Overbuilding: To build over or on top of or to construct more buildings in (an area) than necessary.
  • Property Developer: A person or company that makes money by building houses or renovating existing properties for sale.
  • Variance: A deviation from the set of rules a municipality applies to land use and land development, typically a zoning ordinance, building code, or municipal code.
  • Zoning: Dividing an area into zones or sections reserved for different purposes such as residence and business and manufacturing, etc.
    • RSA-3: Residential Single Family Attached(3)
    • CMX-2: Neighborhood Commercial Mixed-Use(2)

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