Things to Do
Director of Planning and Municipal Development
235 East Airy Street
Norristown, PA 19401
- Use Registration Form
- 2012/13 Historic Facade Grant Program Package
- 2009 CDBG Action Plan
- 2009 Perforce and Evaluation Report
- Dekalb Street Two Way Presentation
- Fair Housing Law Flyer
- Open Space Plan (05)
- Zoning Fee Schedule
- 2012 Draft Third Program Year Action Plan
The Planning and Municipal Development Department is responsible for ensuring that Norristown develops and grows in ways that are consistent with our vision of the kind of community we want to be:
- Walkable and transit-oriented
- Ample park and recreation amenities
- Appropriately located retail, commercial and industrial development
- Variety of homes for every taste, budget, and life-style.
You can learn more about Norristown’s vision by reading our Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan explains the goals Norristown has set for itself to create a better community, one that is ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.
Access a copy of the Municipality of Norristown Zoning Code
Proposed Zoning Ordinance
View the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Here
View the Full Proposed Zoning Map Here
There are four principle ways in which the Planning and Municipal Development Department shapes development to ensure consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.
Subdivision and Land Development
This includes working with developers, investors, residents and others to review and approve plans for new construction in Norristown.
Norristown is divided into areas (or zones). Certain activities or uses (e.g., hospitals, manufacturing, retail, multifamily housing and others) are allowed in certain zones in Norristown but not others. The Planning and Municipal Development Department is responsible for ensuring that the uses in each zone are allowed by ordinance.
Each year the Municipality receives over $2 Million in federal, state and county grants. The Planning and Municipal Development Department develops projects and programs using these funds, including the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program and the first-time home buyer assistance program.
The Planning and Municipal Development Department, in cooperation with federal, state, county government and other agencies and organizations, helps develop and guide important strategic initiatives intended to have a major impact on Norristown.
Subdivision and Land Development
Whether you are planning to subdivide your property (divide a property into separate parcels), build two houses or an entire housing development, a new commercial building or a shopping center, your plans will go through a series of reviews to ensure that they are consistent with local and state laws. We call thisthe “Subdivision and Land Development Process.”
We recommend that before you begin your project you familiarize yourself with the process by reading the User’s Guide to the Land Development and Building Permit Process(5). This brief guide will help you get started. You can then contact the Department of Planning and Municipal Development with any follow up questions at 610-270-0450.To further help you with this process, please find a Plan Submission(34) and Plan Recording Procedure(35).
Norristown is divided into areas or “zones.” While a certain activity may be allowed in one zone, it may not be allowed in another. For example, it is typically not legal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood. The Norristown Department of Planning and Municipal Development is responsible for enforcing local laws that restrict where an activity (or what we call a “use”) can be located.
You may be interested in opening a new business in Norristown or converting a single family home into two or more residential units. Both of these activities require that you first get “zoning” approval. For this reason, before you sign a lease or sales agreement for a property you hope to use for a new business venture, contact the Planning and Municipal Development Department, or fill out a “Use Registration Form(1).” Department staff will work with you to determine whether the use you envision is legal and what conditions may be applicable to your use and get back to you within 30 days.
There are other activities that require zoning approval, including the following:
- 1. Fences. Norristown’s zoning ordinance restricts both the height of the fence and how close the property line a fence can be placed.
- 2. Signs. There are Sign Ordinance(2) requirements regarding the size, style and type of sign. Sign installations must be approved the Department of Planning and Municipal Development prior to installation. Most signs also require a building permit, so be sure to check with the Code Enforcement Department before installing your sign.
- 3. Sheds. Norristown’s zoning ordinance regulates the placement and size of sheds.
- 4. Decks. The Zoning ordinance also regulates the size and setbacks for decks.
You can view the entire Norristown Zoning ordinance online(3).
Zoning is an important first step in the process of opening or relocating a business, and transferring ownership of a business, or other use in Norristown. Once zoning is approved, the building where you want to locate must be inspected by the Norristown Code Enforcement Department(4 to ensure that the space has all the safety features and other improvements required by law to support your business activity. You must be issued a Property Transfer/Change of Tenant Permit prior to moving into your new space. Contact the Norristown Code Enforcement Department for more information at 610-270-1441.
Questions? Contact the Department of Planning and Municipal Development at 610-270-0451.
Grants AdministrationEach year the Norristown Planning and Municipal Development Department administers more the $2 Million in Federal, state and county grants for projects and initiatives designed to further Norristown’s revitalization by:1. Supporting the rehabilitation of Norristown’s housing stock by providing grants and technical support to qualified home-owners for residential rehab projects and increasing opportunities for home-ownership through public investment in new housing, rehabs and first-time buyer incentives.
- Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. Grant funds and technical support to qualified home-owners for rehabilitating their homes and bringing them up to code. Please contact the Department of Planning and Municipal Development at (610) 270-0451 for an application.
- First-Time Home-Buyer Assistance Program. Grant funds to eligible first-time homebuyers to assist them in attaining the American Dream of Owning their home. Please contact the Department of Planning and Economic Development at 610-270-0451 for more information.
- Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resale. Grant funds for the acquisition and rehab of deteriorated properties for resale to eligible first time home buyers. Norristown partner’s with local organizations like Habitat for Humanity(8) and a local Community Housing and Development Organization (CHDO), Genesis Housing Corporation(9) to accomplish this task.
2. Building stronger neighborhoods through strategic investments in public parks; residential streetscapes; public infrastructure improvements; and fair housing enforcement.
3. Revitalizing the local business economy through strategic public investment in new streetscapes in the downtown; grants for building façade improvements; technical assistance and micro-loans for small businesses and start-ups; and grants and loans for strategic business investments designed to foster economic growth and create local job opportunities.
- Historic Façade Program. Grants of up to $7,500 are available for properties in the Arts Hill district on DeKalb Street between Lafayette Street and Marshall Street. Each dollar of grant funds must be matched by a dollar of private investment. For more information contact the Planning and Economic Development Department at 610-270-0451.
- Micro-loan Program. Norristown Municipality in conjunction with The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation (TECC-CC) is offering access to its Microloan fund for the participants in our economic development programs in Norristown. TEC-CC will provide pre- and post- loan technical assistance, loan origination and loan servicing to all qualifying Norristown-based borrowers through our Strategic Loan Fund product. Loans range from $2,500 – 50,000 and offer an easy application process and quick turn- around. Identification of third-party financing opportunities, financial literacy education, credit analysis and counseling, loan packaging and financial intermediation services for small businesses are available. To request an application contact 610-277-4455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Engaging in studies to identify transportation, park and other improvements that enhance the quality of life in Norristown and promote economic growth; and identifying funding sources to bring these plans to life.
Norristown is an exciting place to be. Several important projects and plans are sure to have a significant and positive impact in the coming years. (I would like pictures incorporated into this section)
- Lafayette Street Corridor. This $48 Million project, designed to connect Norristown’s downtown with the PA Turnpike, is expected to begin in early 2013.
- Markley Street Reconstruction Project. Beginning in early 2013 the first phase of the Markley Street Reconstruction project is set to begin. This $21.5 Million first phase will widen and reconstruct Markley Street from Elm Street to Johnson Highway. Another $15 Million will be invested in the second phase, from Main Street to Elm Street. Set to being in late 2014, phase two will include major improvements to the Main Street Bridge over the Stony Creek.
- DeKalb Street Two Way Study. In 2010 Norristown completed a study to determine the feasibility of changing DeKalb Street, north of Lafayette Street, from one-way to two-way. The goal of the plan is to create better and more direct access into Norristown’s downtown from the north.
- Arts Hill. In 2009, Norristown embarked on an effort to create an arts district and local cultural organization. Since then Norristown Arts Council has been created; the second annual arts festival was held in April of 2011; and a second live theater venue on DeKalb Street will be opening in 2012.
- Arbor Heights. With the help of federal, state, and county assistance, Norristown is developing two 12-unit condominium units in the heart of DeKalb Street. This exciting project will provide modern, attractive housing that is affordable for young professionals and empty-nesters alike. The project is already gaining attention, attracting new investment to the neighborhood.