In 2008, Queen Village was decreed a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay district (NCO) by the City of Philadelphia.
Queen Village’s NCO design guidelines (please refer to guidelines beginning on page 2) overlay Philadelphia’s Zoning Code. They are applied during the zoning process to help QVNA protect and preserve the unique qualities and character of our neighborhood. The NCO provides a reasonable degree of control over the alteration and improvement of the exterior facades of existing buildings and the design of new construction to preserve the aesthetic fabric of our neighborhood.
Queen Village NCO Boundaries
As defined by Zoning Code, the Queen Village NCO district contains the area bounded by the north side of Washington Avenue, the properties on the north side of Bainbridge Street (inclusive), the east side of 6th Street and the west side of Front Street, except for any property within the South Street Headhouse District area.
NCO district vs. historic district
Unlike neighborhoods like Society Hill and Rittenhouse Square which are historic districts by law, Queen Village is a NCO because it has only individual properties listed as historic — and that list is remarkably spotty.
Why NCO districts were created
In the early 2000s, development in Queen Village made it evident just how vulnerable the architectural quality of the neighborhood really is. Old, but not “historic” properties were being demolished and replaced with houses with garage fronts; buildings that were not appropriately scaled for some of our smallest streets, even though they complied with the Zoning Code, were replacing charming, smaller houses; incompatible materials were being used in new house construction that changed the 18th and 19th century character of our older streets and courtyards. Recognizing that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to zoning regulations, the City Planning Commission developed the NCO program. Queen Village is the City’s first NCO.