By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A milestone today at Philadelphia City Hall, as Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law a top-to-bottom overhaul of Philadelphia’s antiquated zoning code.

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With four words, “It is now law,” Mayor Nutter signed into law the city’s new zoning code, replacing one that dated back fifty years and was chock full of anachronisms and confusion.

Nutter called the new rules “an enormous leap forward.”

“I used to say that there are about six people in Philadelphia who actually understand the zoning code, and for $500 an hour they’d be glad to explain it to you,” the mayor said, with just a hint of sarcasm.

The new code — nearly five years in the making — is not only supposed to be easier to understand but also will reduce the need of developers to get zoning variances, while safeguarding the voices of neighborhoods that are facing new projects.

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“We have a consistent, coherent, and simplified code that will serve generations of Philadelphians,” Nutter said.

The new regulations take effect in eight months, though officials stress that further tweaking of the language will happen, both before and after that point.

The code was written by a commission, created by voter referendum in 2007, consisting of 31 members.



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