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

  • Erin Owen
    signed via 2017-02-07 19:28:24 -0500
  • Ute Simons
    signed 2017-02-07 19:14:24 -0500
    I disagree with introducing this bill.

    Much more important I like you to deal with the question of special spots to park and charge an electric car.

    Flowers and a bench adds to the charm of a neighborhood it is added value to a neiborhood. I strongly disagree with this bill.
  • Angela Mancini
    signed 2017-02-07 19:13:31 -0500
  • Maureen Wilson
    signed 2017-02-07 19:12:01 -0500
    Maureen McGee Wilson
  • Kate Otte
    signed 2017-02-07 19:05:04 -0500
  • Margo Cosgrove
    signed via 2017-02-07 18:55:51 -0500
  • Kim Dennison
    signed 2017-02-07 18:54:16 -0500
  • Eileen Hwang
    signed 2017-02-07 18:38:56 -0500
  • Sheri Cole
    signed via 2017-02-07 18:38:21 -0500
  • Kate Ryan
    signed via 2017-02-07 18:38:11 -0500
    Please let the city’s residents continue to do their part to keep sidewalks green and clean. By discouraging people from maintaining their home or business entrance/sidewalk (by making it harder for them to do so) you are also discouraging people from caring about what their city looks like and perpetuating the habit of littering and the negative effects it has on residents. Clean streets and sidewalks increase morale and neighborhood pride!
  • Eileen Plato
    signed via 2017-02-07 18:37:02 -0500
  • William Boyle
    signed 2017-02-07 18:27:48 -0500
    Please stop this chickenshit and get down to WORK!
  • Michael Zerbe
    signed 2017-02-07 18:26:11 -0500
    This is completely unacceptable.
  • Daniela Mead
    signed via 2017-02-07 18:10:59 -0500
  • Steven Falkowski
    signed 2017-02-07 18:09:58 -0500
  • Jody Dodd
    signed 2017-02-07 17:49:54 -0500
  • Daniel LaRubio
    signed 2017-02-07 17:46:15 -0500
    Want to chase people out of the city? This is a good start! How about doing some real work & actually earning your fucking paycheck (courtesy of my tax dollars!) instead of wasting everybody’s time & MY MONEY!!!!!!!!
  • Justine Giliotti
    signed via 2017-02-07 17:44:56 -0500
  • Naomi Geschwind
    signed 2017-02-07 17:43:10 -0500
  • Mark Raymond
    signed 2017-02-07 17:41:56 -0500
  • Sofian Saiah
    signed via 2017-02-07 17:35:42 -0500
  • Richard Lange
    signed via 2017-02-07 17:28:51 -0500
  • Lauren Pany
    signed 2017-02-07 17:24:52 -0500
  • Lisa Crescenti
    signed via 2017-02-07 17:20:49 -0500
    This is ridiculous. If I’m responsible for fixing the pipes/sewer in front of my house and fixing cracked sidewalks, as far as I’m concerned it’s my sidewalk. Not the city’s, and I’ll put whatever I want out front. For the record, I don’t have anything out front. This is just the most absurd law I’ve ever heard.
  • kim Alexander
    signed 2017-02-07 17:16:25 -0500
  • Emily Greene
    signed via 2017-02-07 17:12:35 -0500
  • Francis D Donaghy
    signed 2017-02-07 17:02:25 -0500
    Ridiculous, shortisighted. Clean the dealers off the sidewalks.
  • Christopher Romano
    signed 2017-02-07 17:02:08 -0500
    this sounds like something trump would do.
  • Ted Zeitzer
    signed 2017-02-07 16:53:18 -0500
    Most absurd bill!

    Let council decide how to beautify your house and the sidewalk you are responsible for?

    Let’s focus on the important issues.
  • Barbara McKenzie
    signed 2017-02-07 16:48:57 -0500
    Outrageous. Street planters & street furniture make our neighborhoods fun.