Green Roof Incentive Bill Gets Thumbs Up From Council

Philly developers within certain zoning district will get a density bonus – but only if they include a green roof on their project.

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The newly opened Cira Green in University City sits atop a parking garage between the FMC Tower and evo apartment building like some sort of amazing proto-Jetsonian green space – and we’re dying to pay it a visit. At least, that’s how the photos (one of them included above) taken at the new public roof-top park make us feel.

What’s more, it has both built-in blue roof and green roof systems, which means stormwater management and grass and other greenery, respectively, will help reduce at least some of the negative environmental impact the buildings have. Managed stormwater runoff, for example, helps alleviate some of the pollution that enters our waterways.

As you can see, green roofs can be pretty beneficial, which is why it should come as little surprise that City Council’s Committee on Rules recently voted in favor of approving a bill that encourages developers building within RM-1, CMX-2, and CMX-2.5 districts to include them in their projects. Huzzah!

Introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the bill would allow developers to build more than previously approved units within these designated zoning districts if – and only if – they include approved green roofs. Sayeth PlanPhilly:

Currently, a developer can build up to 20 apartments on a 10,000-square-foot lot zoned RM-1. If Brown’s bill is adopted by the full Council, a developer could build 27 units on the same lot if he or she installs a green roof covering at least 60 percent of the building’s roof.

While RM-1 refers to a “low-density multifamily residential classification,” CMX-2 and -2.5 are those encompassing neighborhood commercial corridors.

“We thank Councilwoman Reynolds Brown for helping to provide this added incentive that will create more green roofs in Philadelphia,” said Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug in a press release. “Green roofs help to manage stormwater, keeping it from overwhelming our sewer system and polluting our rivers. This legislation will also help make green roofs more affordable and help create more jobs for our local green business community.”

Previously, Councilwoman Brown presented a similar bill, which incentivized green roof installations by increasing tax credits to businesses who have them.