What, if anything, can we build near a stream?
We are working on a project I’ll call “The Wolf Residence.” The Wolf family is a repeat client; we also did a vacation house for them in the Poconos. They have a beautiful stone home in Chestnut Hill and have been wanting to re-do their kitchen and add a breakfast room and mudroom for a long time –– a single story addition with added egress from the basement. The great challenge with The Wolf Residence is that there’s a stream that flows through an adjacent property. Local stormwater zoning regulations in Philadelphia prohibit building anything within 200 feet of a stream, including the very ground on which the Wolfs at first hoped to build, so this added a lot of time to the process. I’m happy to say that the project is now out of hibernation and into the light of day: construction is underway.
The regulations governing this project are part of the stormwater management ordinances for the city of Philadelphia to improve the water quality of the local rivers and streams, and are much needed. They’ve been in effect for a long time and are rather specific to our immediate neighborhood (a situation known as an overlay zoning district). So the first question we needed to tackle before proceeding with design involved what, if anything, could be built given the regulations.