Author: Philly Zoning Team

Our Plans Requirements Cheat Code   We here at Philadelphia Zoning told you a while back about how important plans are to most zoning, building, and sign permitting projects.  (You can find that post right here.)  But that advice was general; we know a lot of you are probably wondering specifically what kind of plans you need for which project.   We've decided to make a cheat sheet for...

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We here at Philadelphia Zoning like to think we have answers for you.  We tell you we can saw through forests of red tape, and we mean it.  But sometimes, we get a question that has about a hundred different answers.  "How much does a permit cost?" is one of those questions.   There are a few reasons why such a simple question has so many different answers.   First,...

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You’ve just decided to apply for a Zoning Permit for a new house.  This Zoning Permit is not by right; meaning that you’re asking to create a building that doesn’t conform to the Philadelphia Code.  This means you’ll be issued a form called a Refusal.  (If this is too confusing already, check out our primer on zoning in Philly.)   You know all of that, and you’re...

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Philadelphia Zoning - Developing Your Dreams

Zoning in Philadelphia is a strange enterprise.  The ideas behind it are simple, and the people working the desks downtown are generally helpful and clear.  But in practice, it can be quite confusing.  This little overview probably won’t make the strange details of zoning any less confusing, but it may give you a clearer picture of the overall structure of zoning complaints, requests, and applications...

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Every landlord or entity that rents-out a residential housing unit in Philadelphia is required to obtain a rental license (formerly known as a housing inspection license).     The rental license itself is one piece of the compliance puzzle. There are prerequisites to being able to get the rental license, and then there are other things you must do or fulfill after you get the actual license.   The...

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Zoning in Philadelphia is a strange enterprise.  The ideas behind it are simple, and the people working the desks downtown are generally helpful and clear.  But in practice, it can be quite confusing.  This little overview probably won’t make the strange details of zoning any less confusing, but it may give you a clearer picture of the overall structure of zoning complaints, requests, and applications...

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One of Philadelphia Zoning's very first clients hired an accountant to do the zoning for his tattoo shop. As you can imagine, that didn’t turn out too well for our client — or for the accountant (which is why the tattoo artist became a Philly Zoning client).   Zoning is a highly misconstrued world here in Philly. There can be many complications, misunderstandings and miscommunications; so much...

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Zoning in Philadelphia is a strange enterprise.  The ideas behind it are simple, and the people working the desks downtown are generally helpful.  But in practice, it can be quite confusing.  This little overview probably won’t make the strange details of zoning any less confusing, but it may give you a clearer picture of the overall structure of zoning complaints, requests, and applications in Philadelphia.   How...

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The City of Philadelphia recently combined its review boards into the new Department of Planning and Development.   The Department now houses the Art Commission, Historical Commission, City Planning Commission, and — of particular note to us at Philadelphia Zoning — the Zoning Board of Adjustment.   This seems like a smart reorganization on paper, and there are other departments and personnel involved beyond those boards our company usually...

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    Say you want to open a coffee shop.  You’ve found a place, in a quiet block, and the building is perfect: homey, but a little more spacious than you might expect.  It’s on a corner, too.  But it’s zoned RSA-5 (as you might already know if you’re reading this: Residential Single-Family, Attached; Category 5 of 5).  So you aren’t allowed, under Philadelphia law, to open...

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