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 Briglio
    signed 2017-02-07 21:56:43 -0500
    HELL NO!!!!!
  • Bernadette Niebling
    signed 2017-02-07 21:44:33 -0500
    More important issues to address than this issue and the letter of support gives unfettered discretion to district council person. Unconstitutional!
  • Cecile Steinriede
    signed via 2017-02-07 21:43:24 -0500
    Did you ever travel through Eastern Europe under the communist regimes? No trees, no flowers,no beauty, no place where citizens wanted to meet. just concrete .
  • Heather Blackburn
    signed via 2017-02-07 21:32:27 -0500
  • Angelina Calvano
    signed 2017-02-07 21:32:17 -0500
  • William Pettit
    signed 2017-02-07 21:30:20 -0500
  • Dwayne Myers
    signed 2017-02-07 21:26:00 -0500
  • Aaron Ultimo
    signed 2017-02-07 21:25:42 -0500
  • Sequoia Medley
    signed 2017-02-07 21:16:37 -0500
    This ads pointless bureaucracy to citizens intending to beautify their homes and businesses. Philadelphia should be encouraging it’s residents to get out into the streets and interact with each other, to make the concrete and brick urban texture more verdant and vibrant, not creating obstacles to innovation and connection.
  • Falena Hand
    signed 2017-02-07 21:00:39 -0500
  • John Angelini
    signed 2017-02-07 20:50:57 -0500
    When the city starts shoveling my sidewalk and cleaning my sidewalk they can think about regulating my sidewalk.
  • Lidis Lugo
    signed 2017-02-07 20:49:16 -0500
    This is ridiculous, worry about those not taking care of their property
  • Amanda Pattinson
    signed 2017-02-07 20:47:05 -0500
  • Kathleen Miller
    signed 2017-02-07 20:46:23 -0500
  • Anne Harvey
    signed 2017-02-07 20:43:18 -0500
    Anne Harvey
  • Christina Stasiuk
    signed 2017-02-07 20:41:52 -0500
    No to sidewalk beautification red tape .
  • Carla Loggia
    signed 2017-02-07 20:36:22 -0500
    That’s the most ridiculous petition that I have ever read !!! Worrry about cleaning out sewers and streets and pot holes then side walk decor on my own property ! My taxes are high enough that I should be able to put anything I want in front of my HOUSE!!!!! I’m so tired of this city our street is caving in and they are worried about planters ??? There is something wrong with this picture !!!!!

    Thanks !!!
  • Libby Goldstein
    signed 2017-02-07 20:30:10 -0500
  • Julie Parlade
    signed 2017-02-07 20:27:44 -0500
    Don’t make it difficult to beautify our city!
  • Kathleen ODonnell
    signed via 2017-02-07 20:22:50 -0500
    Kathleen ODonnell
  • Kristina Lohre
    signed 2017-02-07 20:21:53 -0500
  • Joseph Briscella
    signed via 2017-02-07 20:18:16 -0500
    She Nuts
  • Joseph Fanelli
    signed via 2017-02-07 20:14:20 -0500
    Ridiculous! Next week will be paying tolls to walk on a public walkway!
  • Stormy Lundy
    signed 2017-02-07 20:09:27 -0500
    Surely you must be joking, how about a bill to make certain everyone who owns property in Philadelphia, has an outside light on after five during the winter months and 9:00 pm during the summer months . . . let us start with that, shall we?
  • Donna Fanelli
    signed via 2017-02-07 20:04:34 -0500
  • Francis Barton
    signed 2017-02-07 19:53:33 -0500
  • Oren Roth-Eisenberg
    signed 2017-02-07 19:51:58 -0500
  • Patricia White
    signed 2017-02-07 19:47:22 -0500
  • Marion Blow
    signed 2017-02-07 19:38:57 -0500
  • Briana Pattinson
    signed via 2017-02-07 19:38:56 -0500