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


2,299 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 1866 reactions

  • 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
  • April Schneider
    signed 2017-02-09 20:54:09 -0500
  • Richard Conway
    signed 2017-02-09 20:31:05 -0500
  • Liam Tinney
    signed via 2017-02-09 19:50:33 -0500
  • Conrad Klem
    signed 2017-02-09 18:33:36 -0500
    When will they ever learn ? When will they ever learn ?
  • Tracy Mitchell
    signed 2017-02-09 18:02:36 -0500
    This is rediculous. Just another way for the city to nickie and dime us. We clean out sidewalks and streets. Not the city.
  • Bill Wrabley
    signed 2017-02-09 15:10:51 -0500
  • Thomas Buck
    signed 2017-02-09 15:09:08 -0500
  • Casey Mcintyre
    signed 2017-02-09 14:36:44 -0500
  • Ann Mccollian
    signed 2017-02-09 13:46:25 -0500
  • Judi Pestrak
    signed 2017-02-09 13:46:14 -0500
    As long as they do not block the side walk they should not have anything to do with what people put in front of there house.
  • Stephanie Goldenberg
    signed via 2017-02-09 13:10:46 -0500
  • Robert Hodges
    signed 2017-02-09 13:06:28 -0500
    Find a better use if you’re time serving the public.
  • Lyn N
    signed via 2017-02-09 12:23:01 -0500
    This bill would add needless paperwork for a non-issue
  • Bill Read
    signed 2017-02-09 11:52:49 -0500
  • Marian Nasuti
    signed 2017-02-09 11:15:37 -0500
    Marian Nasuti
  • Bob Beaty
    signed 2017-02-09 10:36:37 -0500
    Council has more important issues to address. This proposal is only self serving and is not relevant to the everyday lives of the citizens of Philadelphia.
  • Matt Thomas
    signed 2017-02-09 09:34:50 -0500
    Why would you want to pass legislation to make our streets less beautiful?
  • Nina Diamond
    signed via 2017-02-09 09:21:55 -0500
  • Melanie Olshefski
    signed via 2017-02-09 07:38:20 -0500
  • Christine Flanagan
    signed via 2017-02-09 07:14:59 -0500
    This is absolutely crazy. She wants you to get permission to place a PLANT on your own property, (because it’s public property), but if the sidewalk cracks- it’s not public property any longer -it is your responsibility to fix it.
  • Trista Rundatz
    signed 2017-02-09 06:57:00 -0500
  • Stephen Gipson
    signed via 2017-02-09 06:14:31 -0500
    Well lets charge to make my house nice job philly. Squeeze us for all we got.
  • Maryjo Metaxas
    signed via 2017-02-09 04:08:10 -0500
    This is rediculous! No permits needed for plants!!!!!
  • HamTech87
    @HamTech87 tweeted link to this page. 2017-02-09 00:22:56 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Laura Oxenfeld
    signed via 2017-02-08 22:59:25 -0500
  • Leah Cilo
    signed 2017-02-08 22:56:18 -0500
    Why not pick up garbage instead.
  • Ricci Andeer
    signed via 2017-02-08 22:20:08 -0500
  • Toni Pert
    signed via 2017-02-08 22:00:40 -0500