Thomas A. Chapman


Thomas Chapman concentrates his practice in the area of zoning, land use, subdivision and real estate development. He is a frequent lecturer on zoning, planning, land use and other development issues concerning the City of Philadelphia. Thomas advises clients on the complexities of their transactions in the areas of:

  • zoning
  • land use
  • planning
  • residential and commercial development
  • community relations
  • government relations

Prior to entering private practice, Thomas was employed by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, serving most recently as the Acting Executive Director and Secretary for Strategic Planning and serving in the Mayor’s Cabinet. In his capacity as Executive Director, Thomas served as a Board Member of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Penn’s Landing Corporation, and the Avenue of the Arts Incorporated. Thomas was the author of the Philadelphia Zoning Code Publication in 1993, which was the first complete edition of the Philadelphia Zoning Code available to the public in more than 13 years. During his years with the City, Thomas was the author of every significant amendment to the Philadelphia Zoning Code including the Commercial Entertainment District which was written in anticipation of the establishment of legalized gaming in the City.

As a board member of the Philadelphia Building Industry Association, Thomas was a leader in the BIA’s Zoning Code reform efforts, which eventually led to the adoption of a New Zoning Code by the City of Philadelphia. Thomas served as a member of several working sub-committees of the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission to that end. Throughout his years of service with the Planning Commission, he advised the Philadelphia City Council concerning Zoning Code and land use matters. Thomas also worked closely with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Water Department, the Streets Department, the Commerce Department, the Managing Director’s Office, the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Law Department. 


  • A national developer of regional shopping centers as zoning and land use counsel.
  • Served as counsel to a planning team in the development of a waterfront master plan.
  • Real estate developers as zoning counsel in connection with Philadelphia area multifamily development proposals.
  • Served as counsel to a family entertainment center developer in connection with the development of new facilities in suburban Philadelphia.
  • Various institutional interests as zoning counsel with regard to campus expansion and construction plans.
  • A major local construction company with regard to repositioning of real estate holdings for future mixed-use development.
  • Served as counsel to a major development company in connection with the development of the Philadelphia regional fruit and produce terminal.
  • Served as counsel to a religious organization with regard to the development of a new worship center in the City of Philadelphia.
  • National hotel chains as local zoning counsel.



  • American Planning Association
  • Building Industry Association of Philadelphia



  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey


  • LaSalle University, BA
  • Widener University School of Law, JD