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

  • 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.
  • Ollie Walker
    signed 2017-02-08 10:07:23 -0500
    This bill appears to be a ridiculous waste of time. Our community should be focusing on safety and inclusion, not getting a permit to put a planter in front of our homes. I am frustrated with the need to spend time making phone calls over this matter.
  • Dustin Minarik
    signed 2017-02-08 09:37:18 -0500
    I think it’s time for her to put into a retirement home.
  • Margaret Salamon
    signed 2017-02-08 09:00:16 -0500
    I’m in strong support of planters and benches in front of properties (both business and residential) to create beauty and enhance community interactions, as long as there is clear access for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and strollers to pass by on the sidewalk.
  • Alexandra Goral
    signed via 2017-02-08 08:54:50 -0500
    We work hard and wish to beautify our neighborhoods while overpaid council members (who have all the time in the world to make up bills like this) try to control what isn’t theirs to control. Pathetic.
  • Lindsey Wilson
    signed 2017-02-08 08:53:35 -0500
  • Frederick Snyder
    signed 2017-02-08 08:41:30 -0500
  • Steve Prudente
    signed 2017-02-08 08:31:38 -0500
  • Michael Desmond
    signed via 2017-02-08 08:12:11 -0500
  • Alicia Koniecki
    signed via 2017-02-08 07:56:40 -0500
  • Sara Villari
    signed 2017-02-08 07:49:13 -0500
  • Hollis Heichemer
    signed 2017-02-08 07:35:58 -0500
  • Karen Ploucquet
    signed 2017-02-08 07:24:23 -0500
  • Barbara H. Seiple
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-08 07:06:51 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Barbara H Seiple
    signed 2017-02-08 07:05:47 -0500
    Barbara Seiple
  • Sandra Cruz
    signed 2017-02-08 06:00:46 -0500
    This is a ridiculous power reach that has no baring on quality of life. These planters provide beauty to some of the poorest neighborhoods which help the community feel proud of some of the things they can control. My mother and grandmother both have planters in front of their homes in North Philadelphia.
  • Matthew Vincent
    signed 2017-02-08 05:32:04 -0500
  • Heidi Diskin
    signed via 2017-02-08 04:54:17 -0500
  • Thomas Turner
    signed 2017-02-08 04:31:29 -0500
    This is a joke, right?
  • Allyseun Brown
    signed via 2017-02-08 04:10:20 -0500
  • Kara Eisenhower
    signed via 2017-02-07 23:42:05 -0500
  • Nicholas Cooper
    signed 2017-02-07 23:17:24 -0500
    This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. This council member needs to go.
  • Nancy Fullam
    signed 2017-02-07 23:12:07 -0500
    This is a ridiculous proposal. Are council members so under employed they are going to write letters and review planters for all their constituents? What criteria is to be used? How about lighting? Decorations? There is no problem here to fix. Planters and benches help create beauty and facilitate a sense of community and neighborliness. What a bad idea!
  • Laura Burtner
    signed 2017-02-07 23:06:31 -0500
  • Karen Kiefer
    signed 2017-02-07 22:50:05 -0500
    Is this councilwoman a Stalin protegee? Next she will be dictating, and residents will be paying for permission to walk on the sidewalk!
  • David Hitt
    signed via 2017-02-07 22:34:51 -0500
    David Hitt
  • Isabel Abraham-Raveson
    signed 2017-02-07 22:30:49 -0500
  • Esme Iglarsh
    signed 2017-02-07 22:25:04 -0500
  • Frank Kunkle
    signed via 2017-02-07 22:16:18 -0500
    I m