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Obtaining a zoning permit in Philadelphia

Zoning laws and regulations and the familiarity with these laws are important to businesses in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Zoning laws can have a significant impact on how a company does business and how it grows and expands. Understanding these laws and how to navigate them can be an important element of the success of a business.

Zoning permits are required for construction, including adding a new building. In general, it is important to keep in mind that in Philadelphia, zoning permits are required for all new construction, building an extension onto an existing structure, creating or subdividing a lot, demolishing or partially demolishing a structure, erecting billboards and certain signs, construction of masonry fences above two feet in height, creating off-street parking or reconfiguring existing parking and other situations related to signage and fence construction.

The process begins with a zoning permit application, which is followed by a review. If the zoning permit is denied, an appeals process is available to request a variance when a zoning permit request has been denied. There are important deadlines associated with the appeals process, so it is essential to be familiar with the timeline and overall application process when seeking a zoning permit.

While zoning considerations can be an integral part the daily business activities of many commercial property owners, it can also be a complex and challenging process. The greater familiarity businesses have with the zoning process and how to apply for or appeal a zoning permit, the greater the likelihood is that they will enjoy a smooth process so they can continue to focus on the success of their business.

Source: City of Philadelphia, "Zoning and Use," Accessed May 1, 2017

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