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

  • 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.
  • Rosemary Gifford
    signed 2017-02-07 16:48:34 -0500
  • Linda Witt
    signed 2017-02-07 16:43:35 -0500
    How ridiculous! Planters and benches and sidewalk chairs make our neighborhood safer and help neighbors get to know each other better.
  • Jeff Morris
    signed 2017-02-07 16:40:46 -0500
  • Joe Kelly
    signed 2017-02-07 16:39:50 -0500
  • Maggie Mund
    signed 2017-02-07 16:38:22 -0500
    Please make sure this bill gets killed! we need more greenery in the city, we need to make it easier for residents and businesses to beautify their stoops and storefronts. This bill will just complicate that.

    Margaret Mund
  • Sue Christmas
    signed 2017-02-07 16:37:21 -0500
  • Dylan Medlock
    signed 2017-02-07 16:35:05 -0500
  • Carol Devine
    signed via 2017-02-07 16:34:36 -0500
    Not a smart idea.
  • Dennis Blow
    signed 2017-02-07 16:34:14 -0500
  • Joe Manton
    signed 2017-02-07 16:31:07 -0500
  • Erin Wilson
    signed 2017-02-07 16:30:03 -0500
  • Michael Drelling
    signed 2017-02-07 16:26:53 -0500
    This is completely ridiculously absurd. Stop.
  • Daniel Taylor
    signed 2017-02-07 16:26:35 -0500
    Daniel Taylor
  • Robert Lord-Schell
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-07 16:26:25 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Robert Lord-Schell
    @DruidNectan tweeted link to this page. 2017-02-07 16:26:23 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Robert Lord-Schell
    signed 2017-02-07 16:26:12 -0500
  • Meagan Cusack
    signed 2017-02-07 16:21:05 -0500
    Planters and benches are part of what make Philadelphia streets beautiful and unique.
  • Sharon Bushey
    signed 2017-02-07 16:20:06 -0500
    There are alot of more important issues to be discussed.

    Instead of trying to bother those who want to beautify, bother those who don’t sweep their area of trash and debris!!
  • Sam Gish
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-07 16:19:59 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Sam Gish
    @PhilaCook tweeted link to this page. 2017-02-07 16:19:57 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Sam Gish
    signed via 2017-02-07 16:19:05 -0500
  • Thomas Hardenbergh
    signed 2017-02-07 16:17:03 -0500
    Before you worry about what beautification steps are taken on PRIVATELY owned sidewalks, perhaps you should worry about repairing the PUBLICLY owned streets.
  • Dennis Winters
    signed 2017-02-07 16:10:07 -0500
    Why would anyone oppose the beautification of one’s property? As a senior I’d welcome a bench or two at or near businesses I frequent. What gives, Councilwoman Blackwell?!
  • Grace Umbrell
    signed 2017-02-07 16:05:35 -0500
    No, stop being greedy and ridiculous
  • rose m kampert
    signed via 2017-02-07 16:03:44 -0500
    rose m kampert
  • Emily Husband
    signed 2017-02-07 16:02:49 -0500
  • Tina Horowitz
    signed 2017-02-07 15:57:15 -0500