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

  • Kathleen Proctor
    signed 2017-02-08 19:48:12 -0500
  • Barbara Ruth-Cook
    signed via 2017-02-08 19:27:49 -0500
  • Daniel Kaiser
    signed via 2017-02-08 19:23:02 -0500
  • RichArd Perugini
    signed 2017-02-08 19:10:49 -0500
  • Mary Colvin
    signed 2017-02-08 18:49:29 -0500
  • Oliver Clark Malarkey
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-08 18:11:36 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Tamara Van Winkle
    signed 2017-02-08 18:11:03 -0500
  • Sue Dudkin
    signed 2017-02-08 18:08:47 -0500
  • Paul Neuwirth
    signed 2017-02-08 17:56:06 -0500
  • Avery Goldman
    signed via 2017-02-08 16:45:17 -0500
  • Ilene Baker
    signed via 2017-02-08 16:20:44 -0500
  • Margaret Barnes-DelColle
    signed 2017-02-08 16:11:01 -0500
  • Susan Dolphin
    signed via 2017-02-08 16:04:24 -0500
    With all of the issues needing Government’s attention you are looking to penalize people trying to make their property look nice. If you are concerned about sidewalks I suggest you focus on a way to stop litter!!
  • Thomas Gavaghan
    signed 2017-02-08 15:53:12 -0500
  • Ruth Haines
    signed 2017-02-08 15:04:20 -0500
  • Susanne Kaplan
    signed 2017-02-08 14:52:49 -0500
  • Barbara Holmes
    signed via 2017-02-08 14:44:02 -0500
  • Ashley Colabella
    signed 2017-02-08 14:38:14 -0500
  • Lisa Tarter
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-08 14:34:55 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Anthony Hochstetler
    signed via 2017-02-08 14:34:28 -0500
  • Lisa Tarter
    signed via 2017-02-08 14:30:08 -0500
  • Karen Rodgers
    signed via 2017-02-08 14:02:38 -0500
  • Suzanne Bickings
    signed via 2017-02-08 13:40:24 -0500
    How about you charge welfare recipients for something!!!!
  • Kathleen Vissar
    signed via 2017-02-08 12:53:50 -0500
    This is an example of archaic thinking. I wonder if she thinks trees are too dirty? Doesn’t she realize planters (and trees) can change a neighborhood? Joseph P. Riley Jr, the former mayor of Charleston, SC contributed planters as the one thing that started change in his city. I received an award when I was one of the first to put flower boxes in front of my home in Fairmount back in the 80’s. I felt proud about that. That’s what planters do. It’s about pride councilwoman. You need to promote pride and beautification not charge for it.
  • Cynthia Kehl
    signed via 2017-02-08 12:38:47 -0500
    It will beaver happen. To many citizens care and love this city keeping it green and clean!
  • Barb Mulckhuyse
    signed via 2017-02-08 11:54:03 -0500
    This is ridiculous! I have to clean and maintain this area but would not be allowed to it there without a permit?! Crazy making!
  • Rhonda Simmons
    signed 2017-02-08 11:30:30 -0500
    Out of all the many things going on in this world today I think it’s many, many other things we could and should be talking about instead of worrying about people putting planters outside of their homes. I think that businesses should be able to put whatever they want outside of their businesses without asking for permission from the City, plus I think some of the planters beautifies the neighborhood. Some of things Council can discuss is cleaning up this city it is filthy dirty, I’m embarrassed when my family visit from another state and call my city Filthy Adelphia. Have you ever taken a trip and when you land back into the Philadelphia Airport the first thing that you see before landing is trash and that’s what lets you know that your back home. Lets figure out ways to clean up our city. It’s horrible.
  • Jeff Carpenter
    signed 2017-02-08 10:53:05 -0500
    Please don’t inhibit neighbors from making our streets look more human.
  • Patricia Nasuti
    signed 2017-02-08 10:40:31 -0500
  • James Dougherty
    signed 2017-02-08 10:21:12 -0500
    Do I get a say that they put a telephone pole on my sidewalk no. But they can tell me I can’t put a flower pot by side of my step. I can’t wait to move out of this city.