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(11A) Registered Community Organizations. 170
(a) The Commission will only register an organization as an RCO if the organization:
(.1) Is a volunteer organization, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation, an unincorporated association, a Pennsylvania municipal authority that either serves as a Neighborhood Improvement District Management Association or is itself a Special Services District, or a political committee that represents the members of a political party within a ward (such Pennsylvania municipal authorities are not required to satisfy any additional requirements set forth in subsections (.2) through (.7) of this subsection (a); and such ward political committees are not required to satisfy the requirements set forth in subsections (.2), (.3) or (.7), and must only satisfy the requirements of subsections (.4), (.5) and (.6) with respect to meetings relating to zoning matters); 171
(.2) Has adopted a statement of purpose for the organization concerning land use, zoning, or similar subject;
(.3) Has a geographic area of concern that encompasses no more than twenty-thousand (20,000) parcels, except that parcels under the jurisdiction of DPR shall not be counted as parcels for the purposes of this subsection;
(.4) Has registered boundaries that are consistent with the geographic boundaries set forth in the organization's governing rules;
(.5) Conducts open meetings on a regularly scheduled basis;
(.6) Publicly announces its meetings through media such as flyers, newsletters, newspaper notice, or electronic or social media; and
(.7) An organizational membership open to residents, property owners, business owners or operators, and/or tenants from the organization's geographic area of concern, which elects leadership on a routinely scheduled basis. 172
(b) An organization shall file a registration request with the Commission on a form provided by the Commission, which shall include the following:
(.1) The organization's official name and address;
(.2) The name of a contact person;
(.3) The name of a person designated to participate in the Civic Design Review process, if applicable;
(.4) The boundaries of the organization's geographic area of concern. The boundaries of a municipal authority that serves as a Neighborhood Improvement District Management Association shall be considered to be the boundaries of the Neighborhood Improvement District; the boundaries of a municipal authority that is itself a Special Services District shall be considered to be the boundaries of the Special Services District; and the boundaries of a ward political committee shall be considered to be the boundaries of the ward;
(.5) Whether the organization wishes to be notified of applications in its geographic area of concern electronically or by mail;
(.6) The address of the location at which the organization routinely conducts meetings, provided that if the organization does not have a location at which it routinely conducts meetings, the organization shall indicate that meetings are not held at a routine location within the boundaries of the organization's geographic area of concern; and
(.7) Such other information as may be required by the regulations of the Commission.
(c) After review of a registration request form, the Commission shall register an organization as an RCO if it finds that the organization meets the requirements of subsection (a). The Commission shall notify an organization whether its registration request has been granted. If the organization's request has been denied, the Commission must clearly state, in written form, the reason for such denial. The denial of an application shall not preclude an organization from reapplying during the next or any subsequent registration period.
(d) The registration of an organization as an RCO shall remain valid for two years. An RCO may re- register with the Commission for additional two year periods, on re-registration forms provided by the Commission.
(e) An RCO must promptly inform the Commission of any changes to the information provided on a registration or re-registration request form.
(f) Once an organization has been registered by the Commission as a Registered Community Organization, The Director of Finance is authorized to provide funding to help offset the cost of Directors and Officers Insurance premiums attributable to the threat of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) for qualified Registered Community Organizations. The Director of Finance shall submit a report to the Council President and the Chief Clerk of City Council concerning the distribution of any such funds over the course of the previous fiscal year at the time of the annual submission of the proposed operating budget to the Council. 173
(g) Regulations. 174
The Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this subsection (11A). These regulations may include guidelines concerning operations by Registered Community Organizations that constitute an RCO Code of Conduct; and may include guidelines concerning the disbursement of supporting funds towards the costs of Directors and Officers Insurance premiums. Failure to operate within these guidelines may result in the temporary or permanent suspension of organizations from the RCO registry, as outlined by the regulations of the Commission.
Added, Bill No. 130657 (approved January 31, 2014). Section 2 of Bill No. 130657 provides: "Effective Date. This Ordinance shall take effect March 1, 2014, subject to the following:
(a) No organization that had registered as a "Registered Community Organization" ("RCO") under the provisions of § 14-303(12)(a) of The Philadelphia Code as that Section existed before the amendments in Section 1 took effect shall be recognized as an RCO after March 1, 2014 unless the organization re-registers and qualifies as an RCO under the provisions of § 14-303(11A) as added by Section 1.
(b) Upon the date this ordinance becomes law, the City Planning Commission is authorized to accept and act upon RCO registration requests under the provisions of § 14-303(11A) as added by Section 1, provided that such registrations shall not become effective before March 1, 2014."
Amended, Bill No. 170285 (approved June 14, 2017).
Amended, Bill No. 170285 (approved June 14, 2017).
Added, Bill No. 180504 (became law October 18, 2018).