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

  • Vanessa Jerolmack
    signed 2017-02-07 15:42:49 -0500
  • Leah Grubb
    signed 2017-02-07 15:32:42 -0500
  • Richard Herendeen
    signed 2017-02-07 15:31:50 -0500
  • Jim Littrell
    signed 2017-02-07 15:30:54 -0500
  • Karen Murphy
    signed 2017-02-07 15:29:33 -0500
    Are you serious? Some homes have no back yard, no front lawn. People like to sit outside and chat with neighbors! You have no right to infringe upon them like this. The sidewalk is not blocked so others can’t walk past the house front. You are completely out of control and out of your mind to even consider something like this.
  • Kathleena Formica
    signed 2017-02-07 15:27:29 -0500
  • Andrew Mramor
    signed 2017-02-07 15:25:25 -0500
    Are there not more important issues to be discussed? How about enforcing the existing laws for the cars that are illegally parked on the sidewalks hindering pedestrians from walking safely?
  • Kevin Collison
    signed 2017-02-07 15:24:57 -0500
  • Scott Shepski
    signed 2017-02-07 15:22:07 -0500
    The slowing down and/or stalling of residential beautification efforts is in no way productive policy.
  • Kirby Smith
    signed 2017-02-07 15:22:05 -0500
    kirby G. Smith
  • Joe McGuire
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-02-07 15:19:11 -0500
    Petition: Say No to Philly Council's Planter Power Grab
  • Joe McGuire
    signed 2017-02-07 15:18:45 -0500
    I am responsible for cleaning my sidewalk, keeping it free from snow, ice, dog poop, etc., and yet I can’t put a planter in front of my house? If the sidewalk is city property then they repair and replace the cement as needed. I thought it was property to the corner?
  • Justin Lehmann
    signed 2017-02-07 15:16:57 -0500
  • Edward Gavin
    signed 2017-02-07 15:15:31 -0500
  • Evan Fenaroli
    signed 2017-02-07 15:11:48 -0500
  • Peggy Louden
    signed 2017-02-07 15:11:04 -0500
  • Benjamin Farnack
    signed 2017-02-07 15:08:36 -0500
    Planters are important fixtures to our community fabric as they promote interaction and well being
  • Heidi Lengel
    signed 2017-02-07 15:05:50 -0500
  • James Pavlock
    signed 2017-02-07 15:04:35 -0500
    Just called Blackwells office and said the bill is absurd.
  • Laura Mark
    signed 2017-02-07 15:02:12 -0500
  • Matt Olesh
    signed 2017-02-07 15:02:07 -0500
  • Martin Wellard
    signed 2017-02-07 15:01:15 -0500
  • Judy Wiley
    signed via 2017-02-07 14:58:46 -0500
    This would be a ridiculous city ordinance or law. Who would set the standards for such an ordinance? If we are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front of our property then we should certainly have control about how to decorate the sidewalk.
  • Dolores Roche
    signed via 2017-02-07 14:57:05 -0500
  • Ruth Crispin
    signed 2017-02-07 14:54:42 -0500
  • Paul Brosnan
    signed 2017-02-07 14:54:12 -0500
    Let me guess, their is a small fee that L&I would require local residents who care about their respective places of interest to pay for the privilege!

    As a result I will now be doubling the amount of planters in the front of my property, Jannie Blackwell, my address is 1341 Mifflin street and you can kiss my ass!
  • Donald Hunt
    signed 2017-02-07 14:53:56 -0500
  • Candace Roberts
    signed 2017-02-07 14:53:06 -0500
    It is ridiculous that time is being spent on this issue instead of fully funding our schools, libraries and parks.
  • Leonard Bonarek
    signed 2017-02-07 14:52:10 -0500
  • Lawrence Meehan
    signed 2017-02-07 14:48:19 -0500