Excavation work in Philadelphia is about to get a lot more difficult. Of course the days are long gone when you could just stick a shovel in the ground and start building a house: the City requires plans, approval from the Water and Streets Departments, and a wheelbarrow of paperwork before it will permit new construction. But a whole other wheelbarrow will be required come January 1st, 2023, when Licenses and Inspections institutes the Philadelphia excavation license (and related excavation permit).
This means that – prepare yourself emotionally, contractors – every GC in Philadelphia needs to get a new Philadelphia excavation contractor license before they’re allowed to dig out any foundation anywhere in town, starting 2023.
You have questions. We have answers!
Continue reading “The Philadelphia Excavation License”
Note: this guide was written in April 2022. The information is current as of 2023, but some of the references to the “new” Airbnb license might surprise people who know the license has been around for a while.
For those who have been operating an Airbnb or Vrbo in Philly, the new Philadelphia Airbnb license effective April 1st might seem like a bad April Fools’ joke. Alas, City Council isn’t laughing: the city is instituting a new license for “limited lodging,” which means a Philly Airbnb license is now required to legally rent out your space on an app.
Airbnb licenses aren’t new: short-term rentals are often contentious in any city with a sizable tourism economy (be happy we’re not Barcelona!). Whether residents are complaining about noise and litter, city officials want to get some tax dollars, or old-timers are worried about tourists in their neighborhoods, it’s only a matter of time before a city of Philly’s size slaps a permit on Airbnb (or Vrbo) operations. Other towns have required an Airbnb license for years – it’s just new to us (or it was in April 2022).
Continue reading “The Philadelphia Airbnb License Guide”
NOTE: This post was written on Tuesday, March 17th before Governor Tom Wolf shut down all construction in Pennsylvania on March 19th, and before construction was allowed to resume in May 2020. If you’re looking for the current state of the COVID-19 shutdown in Philly, as it relates to permits and construction, please see this article.
Hey Philly! Quite a week we’re having. On Friday, March 12th, the City’s permit center closed for the installation of a new software system. On Monday, March 16th, the City shut down all of its own non-essential functions and shuttered non-essential businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The permit center in the Municipal Services Building and the district offices are closed to the public till at least the 27th. Despite all this, remote work and construction are both exempted from this order, [UPDATE: this order was issued before the statewide shutdown of construction sites] so we can still process Philadelphia permits during coronavirus!
There’s a very important phrase in Philly’s Department of Licenses and Inspections literature that doesn’t mean much to anyone outside of development in Philadelphia: prerequisite approval. So today, Permit Philly is going to answer some questions about this process.
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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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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.
Continue reading “Zoning or Use Variance”