Public Zoning Meetings

The Philadelphia Zoning Code allows for a number of different types of buildings, modifications, and uses across many different classifications of properties in the city. These types of property uses that are allowed according to the zoning code are called by-right uses, and do not require community input.

For any proposed building, modification, or use that does not meet the specifications of the current zoning code, the Department of Licenses and Inspections will issue a rejection letter. The property owner may then choose to change their intended plans, or they may apply for a variance. Variances are heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

Civic groups across the city are asked to provide a necessary component of the appeals process by holding public meetings in which the property owner is invited to share their plans in a public forum, and allowing those present to have their voices heard by means of a vote and/or public discussion.

It is our goal as a civic organization to provide the ZBA with an accurate count of votes for a given property’s appeal. We will present two vote counts: the first being the overall vote taken at the meeting for a given property, and the second being the vote of the proximal neighbors (anyone who resides or owns property within a 3 block radius of the property). We will attempt to hear and address as many concerns as possible, but please be mindful that time constraints do not always allow for every concern to be resolved.

Individual citizens are always allowed and invited to attend the property’s ZBA hearing in person if they feel that their issues with the property have not been adequately addressed.

We ask attendees to keep in mind that the point of a public meeting is for their votes to be counted for or against a zoning case, and to have their issues with a property entered into the meeting record. Zoning meetings are not a place to grandstand, make accusatory statements, raise issues unrelated to the properties being heard, or promote unrelated self interests.

We also ask attendees to remember that the ZBA is concerned with a particular variance's relation to the zoning code. The more an issue can be related to the zoning code, the more weight it will carry. Relevant concerns and zoning code issues brought up by the public will be included in the final letter to the ZBA.