The one-time community space at 6th, Passyunk and Christian has been in flux since the park was closed in 2013. Earlier this year plans were first presented for a new mixed-use development for the lot, but residents and the ZBA resisted based on height restrictions and a failure to meet an open space requirement.
Plans recently reemerged, with the developers using a special exception with the addition of a fresh food market that would move the project forward through the zoning process and allow for even more height than originally planned. Some residents are clearly not pleased with this, as we reported when Friends of Triangle Park launched a GoFundMe to raise money to appeal the zoning permits granted to this development. So how exactly does this fresh food market exception work?
According to Section 14-603 of the zoning code—the section pertaining to uses, not zoning bonuses—buildings with fresh food markets may receive a zoning bonus. For zoning types that are regulated by height, a building with a fresh food market may exceed the maximum building height of a zoning classification by up to 15 feet. In zoning districts governed by floor area ratio, buildings with fresh food markets are allowed one additional square foot of floor area for each square foot of food market floor area within the building, up to a maximum of 25,000 square feet. And in districts where retail uses are subject to maximum floor area limits, fresh food markets can exceed those limits by up to 50% of the lot area. The first 10,000 square feet of a market’s floor area, in all cases, is exempt from off-street parking minimums.
If this development creates a fresh food market in the retail space, they can be granted the extra 15-feet of height for the development. This ground-floor retail space will then be obligated to have at least 50% of the store’s display area occupied with fresh fruit and vegetables for sale. With the addition of this fresh food market, the building will now be 53-feet-tall.
Another example of this fresh food market exception being used is the mixed-use development that will house the Point Breeze Food Co-op that we reported on earlier this month.