Parking! Parking! Parking!

A parking meter in Queen Village, demonstrating parking rules in Philadelphia | Permit Philly

Let’s talk about parking rules in Philadelphia.  You have to abide by them, even though you may not know what they are, and every living human in the city has a very angry opinion about them.  Many RCOs rage against developments without parking.  Residents want their curbside parking secured – keep the new people away from my spot! is the cry from people who moved to Northern Liberties only six years ago.  As more people move to Philly, the tide of grumbling increases.  Everyone is angry about parking.

And this anger reaches City Council pretty quickly.  Right now, the Council is debating a new bill to require stricter parking rules in Philadelphia.  [update: this was written in 2018, but Council is pretty much always debating parking bills.] Specifically, the bill would require more parking spaces to be constructed with each new development in the City.  You might have seen some of Plan Philly’s outstanding reporting on this – take a look at this interview and this article for a good introduction.

Since the future of parking rules in Philadelphia are in some uncertainty, I want to quickly review the overall zoning rules for parking spots in the city, and talk about the ways in which the new bill might change them.

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Zoning Guide: Philadelphia Sign Permits

The sign for Famous Fourth Deli in Philadelphia: an example of a building with a philadelphia sign permit

Zoning Guide to the Philadelphia Sign Permit

Welcome back to Permit Philly’s Philadelphia zoning guide!  In this series, we’ve covered commercial zoning in Philadelphia, single-family residential zoning, multi-family residential zoning, and that sweet sweet hipster zoning.  Now we’re going to talk about the Philadelphia sign permit.  Warning: this story features graphic descriptions of bureaucracy.

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Philadelphia Zoning Guide: Industrial Zoning in Philadelphia

Industrial zoning in Philadelphia

Industrial Zoning = Hipster Zoning

Welcome back to Permit Philly’s Philadelphia zoning guide!  In this series, we’ve covered commercial zoning in Philadelphia, single-family residential zoning, multi-family residential zoning, and the age-old question, “Yo, can I turn my single-family house into a multi-family house?”  But you’re not here for that conventional stuff: you’re into the darker, grittier, back catalogue of Philadelphia zoning.  Artistic zoning.  Hipster zoning.  You want to know about old factories, and the best places to start a craft brewery, and where to get like just a super fly loft space for your innovative yet socially empowering start-up.  You’re the kind of person who walks around Kensington, sees graffitied factory towers, and thinks, “I bet we could use this as a distillery but also a community center.”  You want to learn about industrial zoning in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Zoning Guide: Multifamily Zoning

Philadelphia Multifamily Zoning - RM-1 - Zoning Guide

Welcome to Permit Philly’s Philadelphia Multifamily Zoning Guide!

If you’d like to see the other parts of this series, click here.

Oh my god we’re back again.  We’ve covered Commercial MiXed-use (CMX) and Residential Single-family Attached (RSA) zoning in our Philadelphia zoning guide.  Now it’s time to tackle Philadelphia multifamily zoning.

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Rezoning Property in Philadelphia

Rezoning Property in Philadelphia: RSA to Multi-Family

We interrupt Permit Philly’s zoning guide for an important message.

In this blog we’ve been slowly progressing through the Philadelphia Zoning Code’s classification of properties (if you’d like to see the series, click here).  But today we’re not going to do that: today, we’re going to talk about rezoning property in Philadelphia.  Specifically, we’re going to answer the question seemingly everyone has about multifamily buildings in Philadelphia:

Can I re-zone my single-family building as a multi-family building?

Nope!  Next question.

Okay; it’s a little more complicated than that.  Let’s take this step by step:

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After You Apply for a Philly Building Permit

Philly building permit

What Happens After You Apply for a Philly Building Permit?

To apply for a Philly building permit, you must create a package of material – usually plans and a set of forms – to submit to the Department of Licenses and Inspections (check out our building permit overview for more on that process).  L&I may not accept the package – they may take a look and decide that your plans aren’t clear enough, or that you have included sheets which don’t apply to the project.  But if all the materials are in order, they’ll accept the application.

So that means you’ll get your permit, right?

Not always.  Just because L&I accepts your package to review doesn’t mean that you’ll get a favorable review.  Here’s a quick summary of everything that can happen to a Philly building permit application once it enters the L&I conveyor belt.

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Philadelphia Building Permits

Philadelphia building permit

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Philadelphia Building Permits

Whether you’ve just bought your first house or are an experienced contractor, a Philadelphia building permit can be a confusing document.  Not the permit itself: the process of getting the permit.  Depending on the project, there might be a lot of documents required to successfully acquire a Philly building permit; and if these documents aren’t prepared in the right way, City departments reject the permit application.  Because of this, Permit Philly has prepared a little guide to help you understand when building permits are needed in our city, and how to apply for them.

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Zoning or Use Variance

Philadelphia zoning variance

In our last post, we covered the basic terms and ideas of the zoning process in Philly.  Now, let’s talk about the most complicated parts of the process:  The Philadelphia zoning variance and special exception process.

In Philly’s zoning rules, property owners or tenants might want to use their space differently than Philly’s zoning code allows.  This can be done, but only after special applications are filed, neighborhood groups review the proposal, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment approves the proposal.

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