Community Toolkit

Chestnut Hill - A Very Special Place

Recognizing the value of Chestnut Hill as a National Historic District set within the sensitive natural environment known as the Wissahickon Watershed, the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Physical Division provides active stewardship of land use planning and zoning issues within the community.  We have been doing this longer than anyone else!

The CHCA was founded back in 1947 by a core group of community members who saw their beloved neighborhood losing its specialness to unconsidered development and neglect. They established a vision and standards that remain in practice today. To maintain these standards, CHCA committees were formed to provide a process for review: Development Review, Land Use Planning and Zoning, and Streetscape. These committees, staffed by volunteers, work with the community and with City agencies, including the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Philadelphia Streets Department, Philadelphia Water Department, and City Council representatives.

Over a period of many years, we have refined this review process and engage the participation of other Chestnut Hill organizations including the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, the Chestnut Hill Business Association and BID, Parking Foundation, and Friends of the Wissahickon. Together, we comprehensively evaluate both development proposals made by institutional, business, and residential applicants, and zoning matters originating either within our community or the City at large. Our process takes place in a public forum that allows broad community input to facilitate the best possible resolutions for our community.

We are the coordinating Registered Community Organization (RCO) in Chestnut Hill. This means that we bring together representatives from the other Chestnut Hill RCOs (Chestnut Hill Conservancy and the Friends of the Wissahickon) and stakeholder organizations (Chestnut Hill Business District) as part of our Development Review Process to review projects that are required by the City to seek a variance or review. The process typically spans 37-44 days. Occasionally, revisions are requested that can lengthen the process. Participation in the review process leads to a final decision from the CHCA Board of Directors regarding the recommendation sent to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. 

These CHCA committees are supported by staff that can assist applicants through the review process. Our meeting schedule can be found HERE.  We require that every applicant fill out our DRC application, which can be found HERE. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you make a positive contribution to Chestnut Hill. 


Learn more about Chestnut Hill's Development Review Process:                        
Development Review Committee 
Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee
Historic District Advisory Committee a committee of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy
Streetscape Committee
Fences and Zoning

Learn more about Chestnut Hill's Planning Documents:
Special Initiative - Chestnut Hill Residential Conservation, Preservation, and Development Study 2017

City of Philadelphia Plans, Regulations, and Departments that impact Chestnut Hill

Introduction to Registered Community Organizations (RCOs)

Registered Community Organizations (RCOs): Processes

Introduction to Zoning

Introduction to Civic Design Review (CDR)