Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab


3rd District Councilmember Jannie Blackwell thinks you should have to get a letter of support from City Council for that planter in front of your house. We’re here to tell you how backwards this is.

On Thursday February 2, Councilmember Blackwell introduced legislation (Bill No. 170087) to amend Chapter 10-611 of the Code, entitled "Sidewalk Behavior," by “providing certain requirements for obtaining a permit to place street furniture, planters, benches and other fixtures on the public sidewalk.”

According to Councilmember Blackwell’s proposal, “certain requirements” means a signed letter of support from the District Councilmember. Here’s the relevant text (proposed changes shown in italics):

“No person shall… place or maintain any bench, planter, fixture or other street furniture on the public sidewalk without a permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Before any such permit is issued the Department shall obtain a letter of support from the District Council person representing the area of the city where the bench, planter, fixture or street furniture will be located.”

This is a totally unacceptable power grab from residents and businesses, which would put City Councilmembers in the absurd position of acting as gatekeepers for people's sidewalk plants.

Sign this petition to say NO to the Planter Power Grab

As written, this bill would apply to any benches and planters in front of homes. The City already has laws on the books to ensure passable sidewalks for pedestrians and those who use wheelchairs, so it's not clear what Councilmember Blackwell’s goal is, other than appointing herself the home decor czar. Council has bigger fish to fry than to micromanage everyone's street decorations, or at least they should.

This bill is especially disappointing since West Philly is at the forefront of public space and public seating innovation in Philadelphia, thanks largely to the work of University City District. The 3rd District needs a Councilmember who wants to ramp up UCD's amazing work, not scale it back.

There's still time to stop this bill

Council bill 170087 aka the Planter Power Grab has been referred to the Council Committee on Streets and Services, which is chaired by 1st District Councilman Mark Squilla and also includes 7th District Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (Vice-Chair), David Oh (At-large), Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), Cindy Bass (8th District), Bill Greenlee (At-large), and Al Taubenberger (At-large). 

Sign and share this petition, and then call your City Councilmember:


Jannie Blackwell: (215) 686-3418   

Mark Squilla: (215) 686-3458

Maria Quiñones-Sánchez: (215) 686-3448

Kenyatta Johnson: (215) 686-3412

Cindy Bass: (215) 686-3424

Bill Greenlee: (215) 686-3446

David Oh: (215) 686-3452

Al Taubenberger: (215) 686-3440


2,295 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 1862 reactions

  • Theresa Patane
    signed 2017-02-12 08:57:28 -0500
  • James Miller
    signed via 2017-02-12 03:12:27 -0500
    Too restricting a rule, while billboards four stories high are fine in this city, and there is no concern for building heights or indeed what is built.
  • Christopher Carriero
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-11 22:05:49 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Christopher Carriero
    signed via 2017-02-11 22:05:22 -0500
    Christopher Carriero
  • Jenna Otter
    signed via 2017-02-11 16:39:43 -0500
  • Melanie DuPree
    signed 2017-02-11 15:08:42 -0500
    Melanie DuPree
  • Francis Cuthbertson
    signed via 2017-02-11 14:35:07 -0500
  • Lisa Griffith
    signed via 2017-02-11 13:41:27 -0500
  • David Holton
    signed via 2017-02-11 11:08:39 -0500
  • Catherine Fleming
    signed via 2017-02-11 11:01:26 -0500
  • Elizabeth Campanella
    signed via 2017-02-11 09:20:13 -0500
  • Ryan Keszczyk
    signed via 2017-02-11 09:17:38 -0500
  • Grigorios Papadourakis
    signed via 2017-02-11 08:54:26 -0500
  • David Campanella
    signed via 2017-02-11 08:26:41 -0500
  • Norman Carlson
    signed via 2017-02-11 08:07:54 -0500
  • Sandra Watson
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-11 02:58:41 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Sandra Watson
    signed via 2017-02-11 02:57:50 -0500
    Completely ridiculous… next they’ll want a yearly fee!
  • Dennis Fee
    signed via 2017-02-11 02:20:50 -0500
  • Mary Sears
    signed via 2017-02-10 22:14:29 -0500
    Completely absurd! Obviously councilman and women need more agendas to beautify the neighborhood.
  • Kelsey Romano
    signed 2017-02-10 20:48:28 -0500
  • Amal Ashok
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-10 17:38:45 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Amal Ashok
    signed via 2017-02-10 17:38:09 -0500
    amal ashok
  • Matt Magee
    signed via 2017-02-10 17:24:59 -0500
  • Karen McCormick
    signed 2017-02-10 16:17:19 -0500
    Karen McCormick
  • Theresa Mond
    signed via 2017-02-10 15:05:11 -0500
  • Gerri Graves
    signed via 2017-02-10 10:54:15 -0500
  • Rita Varley
    signed via 2017-02-10 09:07:13 -0500
  • Jillian Threadgill
    signed via 2017-02-10 06:47:51 -0500
  • Judith Parker
    signed 2017-02-09 23:01:02 -0500
    We need more greenery in the city, so planters are vital.
  • Kimberly Wagner
    signed via 2017-02-09 21:46:44 -0500