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

  • Derek Kunz
    signed 2017-02-06 11:18:16 -0500
  • Sadie Robinson
    signed 2017-02-06 11:18:05 -0500
  • Amy Friedlander
    signed 2017-02-06 11:17:45 -0500
  • Rachel Isenberg
    signed 2017-02-06 11:17:40 -0500
  • Patrick Bayer
    signed 2017-02-06 11:17:40 -0500
  • Caitlin Youngster
    signed 2017-02-06 11:17:24 -0500
  • Michael Bourg
    signed 2017-02-06 11:17:06 -0500
  • Adrian Littel
    signed 2017-02-06 11:16:49 -0500
  • Chad Ludeman
    signed 2017-02-06 11:16:48 -0500
  • Matt Crosby
    signed 2017-02-06 11:16:10 -0500
  • Pamela Zimmerman
    signed 2017-02-06 11:16:09 -0500
  • Dane Pangonis
    signed 2017-02-06 11:16:01 -0500
    Talk about government overreaching their authority….
  • Jake Liefer
    signed 2017-02-06 11:15:33 -0500
  • Michael McGowan
    signed 2017-02-06 11:15:27 -0500
  • Erika Morgan
    signed 2017-02-06 11:15:23 -0500
  • Gail Massey
    signed 2017-02-06 11:15:05 -0500
    Is this in addition to the current requirements? I believe certain restriction are already in place!
  • Doug O'Malley
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:55 -0500
  • Rory Boyle
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:29 -0500
    C’mon this is ridiculous. Too many regulations and licenses required in this town already.
  • Peter Cunicelli
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:24 -0500
    Do we not have more important things to do? Do we really want to discourage people from making their homes more attractive?
  • Kristen Nicholson
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:22 -0500
  • Evan Silverstein
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:18 -0500
  • Daniel Kocis
    signed 2017-02-06 11:14:08 -0500
  • Benjamin Ditzler
    signed 2017-02-06 11:13:47 -0500
  • Katie Monroe
    signed 2017-02-06 11:13:39 -0500
  • Noam Szwergold
    signed 2017-02-06 11:13:18 -0500
  • Kathleen Rowe
    signed 2017-02-06 11:13:08 -0500
  • Ron Kauffman
    signed 2017-02-06 11:12:51 -0500
  • Emory Krall
    signed 2017-02-06 11:12:46 -0500
  • John Connors
    @John_J_Connors tweeted link to this page. 2017-02-06 11:12:27 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Michael Bixler
    signed 2017-02-06 11:11:53 -0500