Zoning Code & Map Amendment

Adoption of the Zoning Code and Zoning Map Amendments

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners adopted new Zoning Code and Zoning Map amendment following a public hearing. The Zoning Code and Zoning Map amendments are provided below, with both in one document, or separately to make it easier to download.


After more than a decade of effort and input from residents, Staff, Commissioners and the Montgomery County Planning Commission, the Board of Commissioners adopted a new comprehensive Zoning Code in November 2017. The Zoning Code determines land uses “by right” on every parcel in the community. The last full update was in 1964.

The Zoning Code establishes regulations on how land is permitted to be used within the Township, directing where certain types of uses can be located within the Township; lot sizes; building types, sizes, heights, and locations on a lot; protection of natural and cultural resources; and other aspects of land use that help protect the health, safety and welfare of Cheltenham Township residents and ensures that it can be diverse and prosperous.

The Zoning Map divides the entire Township into various districts. Each district corresponds to a chapter within the Zoning Code that establishes criteria for how the land within each district can be utilized.

Below are some highlights of the major concepts, changes and additions in the new Zoning Code. The main goal of this update is to help encourage economic development in the right areas of the Township, while preserving and/or improving some of the unique historical, architectural and environmental assets of Cheltenham.

• Provides for many more opportunities for commercial and mixed-use development.
• Overhauls how uses are categorized and regulated. Many of the Use Regulations include additional dimensional, use or design criteria.
• Makes general updates for consistency, clarity and ease of interpretation and use of the overall code.

• Consolidates Residential Districts from 15 (including nine single-family and four multifamily districts) down to six (including four single-family and two multifamily).
• Adds provisions for garage placement and townhouse design/orientation.
• Adds design and open space standards for multi-family developments.
General Commercial and Industrial
• Consolidates Commercial Districts from four to two.
• Adds design standards for larger buildings, shopping center/malls.

Mixed Use
• Adds three mixed-use districts, where none previously existed: MU1, MU2 and MU3.
• MU1 and MU2 Districts are geared towards existing pedestrian-friendly downtowns and village centers, respectively.
• MU3 District, which represents the most significant zoning change for the affected properties, is intended for adaptive reuse (the former estates of Elkins Estate and Lynnewood Hall) and “new town mixed use” developments. It incorporates detailed standards for building and street design, public space design, historic preservation standards for select parcels, sustainability bonuses, etc.

Overlay Districts
• Overhauls and updates zoning in the La Mott and Wyncote Historic Districts under Historical Architectural Review Overlay Districts.
• Tweaks Steep Slopes, Riparian and Floodplain Conservation Districts that remain largely unchanged.
• Rezones large vacant, institutional and private recreational tracts from (nonconforming) residential zoning to MU3 Mixed Use District zoning
• Rezones other significant institutional tracts from (non-conforming) residential zoning to C1 and C2 Commercial Districts zoning.

• Adds Wireless Communications Facilities article.
• Provides updates to parking regulations.
• Adds SolSmart recommendations regarding use of solar energy.
• Expands on definitions.