Last month, Eleena de Lisser invited me (Brett)
on her show – the Jumpstart
Philly Real Estate Radio Show – to talk
permits! Permit heads and paperwork junkies, I see you: this is
everything you ever wanted to know about Philadelphia permitting,
Inspections, permit violations, and the exact turning radius
allowed for a vehicle crossing a curb cut in a residential lot!
(It didn’t get that technical.)
Eleena asked me about Permit Philly – how it started, how I started
working in permits despite a background in music, and what services
Permit Philly provides to those sailing the dark, repetitive waters
of Philadelphia permitting. We talked a little about the permitting
process, and touched on building
to Philadelphia’s building codes earlier this year, zoning
permits, and variances.
Eleena is a great host, and you should check out her show! Don’t
worry: it comes in the form of a podcast.
She has a million interesting guests, and also me! Give the episode
a listen, then read more about Philadelphia permitting in the Permit
Philly blog – and when you’re sick of that, listen to some
more of the Jumpstart Philly Real Estate Radio Show, or just check
Find our episode right
here, or on Apple
Podcasts or Google
Happy New Year! Permit Philly hopes everyone has recovered from the Mummer apocalypse and a month of eggnog. Since we have a brand-new year on our hands, I thought it would be a good idea to review what’s changed in Philadelphia permits over the last year, and explain how the changes affect you. So here are the top five things to know about Philly permits in 2019.
Continue reading “Top Five Things to Know About Philly Permits in 2019”
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.
Continue reading “Prerequisite Approvals”
NOTE: Since this post was originally published, Licenses and Inspections has updated the requirements for the Philadelphia EZ Permit. Now, owners of single-family homes applying for EZ permits for work on those homes need to provide a photo ID with the address of the home printed on the ID.
The City of Philadelphia offers a type of building, electrical, and plumbing permit called an EZ Permit. This is because it’s easier to get than a normal permit (don’t look at me like that – I’m not in charge of naming this stuff). Philadelphia EZ Permits are the source of a lot of hope and a lot of confusion for homeowners and developers. In this post, we’re going to try to clear some of the mud off the Philadelphia EZ Permit.
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The most common question I get here at Permit Philly is, “What permits do I need to build this?” As documented in our blog, Philadelphia has a dense administrative system that might require you to get a lot of permits. “It depends on the project,” is the answer I usually give. But people don’t just want to know the specific permit they need: they want a conceptual picture of the permitting system. A Philadelphia building permit checklist.
And wouldn’t you know it: there is a Philadelphia building permit checklist, made by the City itself. You can find it right here.
But before you dive into it, let’s give you a companion piece: an overhead view of the permitting maze in Philly.
Continue reading “Philadelphia Building Permit Checklist”
You’re ready to open a restaurant in Philadelphia. You have everything you need: a great building, all the right equipment on order, a dedicated team, and some amazing recipes. Now you just need to get a food license from the City of Philadelphia. Is that just one form? Maybe a little inspection?
Not quite. While you do need an inspection from the Health Department to operate a restaurant, and there is a simple form that says “Food License,” actually getting complete approval to open a restaurant in Philadelphia can be a long and complicated journey. As Philly Health Commissioner Thomas Farley once said, “The night is dark and full of terrors.”
Okay, maybe he didn’t actually say that. But getting officially certified to open a restaurant in Philadelphia can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re in for. Fear not! Permit Philly is here to break down the process for you.
Continue reading “How to Open a Restaurant in Philadelphia”
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. 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.
Continue reading “Parking! Parking! Parking!”
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.
Continue reading “After You Apply for a Philly 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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If you’re confused about the Philadelphia Zoning Code, don’t worry! You’re in good company. The law that governs zoning in Philadelphia is quite complex, but the actual process that comes out of it isn’t so bad. Here are the zoning basics of our city.
Continue reading “Zoning Basics”