Development Incentives

The Philadelphia Water Department offers incentives to property owners, project managers, and developers to keep and increase stormwater management on their property for lower costs.

What are Development Incentives?

Incentives are available to development projects that include stormwater management beyond what is required by PWDs Stormwater Regulations. These incentives take two main forms: PWD Funding and Zoning Code Bonuses.

PWD Funding

Development projects can manage additional on-site impervious area beyond the area required by the Stormwater Regulations. These projects can apply for Stormwater Grant funding.

PWD also offers limited funding to development projects that manage runoff from the public right of way through programs known as the Developer ROW Incentive and Green Street Buyback.

  • Developer ROW Incentive: This incentive is for property owners who are able to direct drainage area from the right-of-way (ROW) into their SMP. For more information, visit Section 1.1.1 Development Type in the Stormwater Management Guidance Manual.
  • Purchase of Assets: PWD Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects are being planned all over the City, including in locations adjacent to proposed development projects. In these scenarios, PWD may engage the project’s developer with the option to construct the GSI on behalf of PWD. At the close of construction, PWD will purchase the GSI asset from the developer and take on long-term ownership and maintenance. This arrangement can be advantageous to both developers and PWD since it allows for the cost sharing of required street improvements including sidewalk repaving, accessibility ramps, and street trees and can reduce the overall length of time a street will be under construction.

Any applicant interested in incentive or grant opportunities for their project is urged to contact Stormwater Plan Review and Stormwater Billing and Incentives as early as possible in the design process.

Zoning Bonuses

Green Roof Density Bonus: Contained in Section 14-702(16) of the Zoning Code, projects with certain mixed use and multi-family zoning classifications can include additional dwelling units beyond typical zoning code maximums by building a green roof.

Height Bonus for Stormwater Management: Contained in Section 14-702(14) of the Zoning Code, certain mixed use projects in the Central Delaware Riverfront Overlay (Section 14-507) and East Callowhill Overlay (Section 14-519) can gain height bonuses by including stormwater management features such as the management of street drainage, the management of additional on-site drainage, or the use of surface stormwater management practices such bioinfiltration/bioretention basins.

Why Development Incentives?

PWD is responsible for maintaining the health of our local waterways. This includes the management of stormwater runoff, the primary source of pollution in our rivers and streams. These incentives are offered by the PWD as a way to increase the amount of stormwater managed City-wide to ensure healthy and safe communities. This stormwater management goal is part of the Green City, Clean Waters plan to build more green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) across the City as well as meet the City’s combined and separate sewer permit requirements. Visit these pages to learn more about the benefits of GSI and the City’s many ways to plan and build it.

Learn more about other Stormwater Incentives

  • The Stormwater Credits Program is the most commonly-used incentive for non-residential property owners to lower their stormwater bill. Property owners may be eligible today!
  • Rain Check is the main incentive for residential property owners who want rain barrels, planters, or other free or discounted stormwater management practices installed on their property.
  • Stormwater Grants are for non-residential private property owners that voluntarily manage stormwater runoff on their property, which may increase stormwater credit eligibility.

For questions concerning Development Incentives, please email pwd.planreview@phila.gov.

For questions about general Stormwater Incentives, please contact the PWD Stormwater Incentives team at 215-685-6070 or PWD.StormwaterCredits@phila.gov.

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