(6)   Zoning Permits.
{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}
(a)   Applicability.
This section applies to all applications where the decision on a permit is to be made by L&I, including but not limited to those specific decisions listed in § 14-303(6)(b) (Types of Zoning Permits). Zoning permits confirm that the application complies with all applicable provisions of this Zoning Code. L&I shall have authority to issue the permits and approvals listed in this § 14-303(6) (Zoning Permits):
(.1)   Regardless of whether the existing lot, structure, or use is currently in conformance with the provisions of this Zoning Code; and
(.2)   Regardless of whether the existing lot, structure, or use is currently the subject of a variance, permit, certificate, special exception, or proviso issued by the Zoning Board, provided that the application shall be consistent with the terms of the current Zoning Code and that variance, permit, certificate, special exception, or proviso. If the application is not consistent with or would require a modification of the terms of a variance, permit, certificate, special exception or proviso approved by the Zoning Board, or otherwise not consistent with this Zoning Code, the application shall be denied and referred to the Zoning Board for action pursuant to the applicable section. 156
(b)   Types of Zoning Permits. 157
Specific types of zoning permits issued by L&I include but are not limited to the following:
(.1)   Zoning permits, which permit the proposed structure, site improvement, or construction.
(.2)   Use registration permits, which permit the proposed land use, including signs.
(c)   Optional Conditional Zoning Permit Process. 158
The following process shall be available for any project subject to Civic Design Review. At the applicant's option, the applicant may apply for a zoning permit through a two-stage process by submitting an application for a conditional zoning approval, subject to the provisions of this § 14-303(6)(c), before submitting a zoning permit application. Applications for special exception approval and applications requiring a variance from the terms of this Zoning Code are not eligible for the conditional zoning approval process.
(.1)   A conditional zoning approval confirms that the application complies with all of the following:
(.a)   The use regulations of Chapter 14-600 (Use Regulations), Chapter 14-500 (Overlay Zoning Districts), and § 14-513(4) (Use Regulations);
(.b)   The dimensional standards of § 14-701 (Dimensional Standards) and Chapter 14-500 (Overlay Zoning Districts);
(.c)   The floor area, height, and dwelling unit density bonus provisions of § 14-702 (Floor Area, Height, and Dwelling Unit Density Bonuses), as applicable; 158.1
(.d)   The open space and natural resource protection standards of § 14-704(2) (Steep Slope Protection), § 14-704(4) (Flood Protection), and § 14-704(5) (Waterfront Setbacks), as applicable; 159
(.e)   The standards in § 14-705 (Landscape and Trees) that regulate (a) required landscape areas (including the required number of trees and plants to be provided in the required landscape area) or (b) required number and caliper of trees to be planted, preserved and replaced, but excluding (c) required plant or tree species, irrigation system specifications, buffer heights, and buffer wall or fence materials;
(.f)   The subdivision regulations of § 14-708 (Subdivision Standards), as applicable;
(.g)   The parking and loading regulations of § 14-801 (Purpose, Applicability, and General Standards), § 14-802 (Motor Vehicle Parking Ratios), § 14-803 (Motor Vehicle Parking Standards), except for § 14-803(4) (Parking Design Standards) and § 14-803(5) (Parking Landscape and Screening), § 14-804 (Bicycle Parking Ratios and Standards) § 14-805 (Drive-Throughs and Vehicle Stacking Areas), and § 14-806 (Off-Street Loading); and
(.h)   Any approved master plan, as applicable.
(.2)   The issuance of a conditional zoning approval does not imply that the application does or will be able to comply with the provisions of the Zoning Code that are not included in the conditional zoning approval review nor does it obligate the City to approve a zoning permit or to grant any variance required to permit development consistent with the conditional zoning approval.
(.3)   L&I's decision on an application for a conditional zoning permit is a final decision that may be appealed to the Zoning Board pursuant to the provisions of § 14-303(15) (Appeals). 160
(.4)   Following the issuance of a conditional zoning approval, the applicant shall attach the conditional zoning approval to the subsequent zoning permit application. L&I shall issue a zoning permit if the application is consistent with the conditional zoning approval and complies with all provisions of this Zoning Code. L&I shall not issue a zoning permit if the application varies from the approved conditional zoning approval, but shall instead review the application through a one-stage process.
(.5)   If a conditional zoning approval is subject to the Civic Design Review Process in § 14-304(5) (Civic Design Review), that process (and the related neighborhood notice and meetings required under § 14-303(12) (Neighborhood Notice and Meetings)) shall be completed prior to the issuance of the zoning permit. At the applicant's option, the applicant may initiate and complete Civic Design Review before or after the issuance of the conditional zoning permit. If the Civic Design Review Process is completed prior to the issuance of the conditional zoning approval, it need not be repeated as part of the subsequent zoning permit review.
(d)   Criteria for Approval.
(.1)   Except as provided in § 14-303(6)(d)(.2) below, L&I shall approve the application only if it determines that it complies with the following criteria.
(.a)   The application complies with all provisions of the Zoning Code applicable to the conditional zoning approval or zoning permit included in the application and is consistent with the terms of all variances, permits, certificates, special exceptions, or provisos previously issued by the Zoning Board for the uses, structures, and property involved in the application.
(.b)   If a variance, permit, certificate, special exception, or proviso previously issued by the Zoning Board conflicts with the provisions of this Zoning Code, the previously issued variance, permit, certificate, special exception, or proviso shall govern.
(.c)   If the application is in a master plan district listed in Table 14-304-1 (Master Plan Districts), the Commission shall review the application and accompanying plans and determine that the proposed development is consistent with the approved master plan.
(.2)   If the application is for (a) "reasonable accommodation" under the federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.) or (b) a site or structure modification required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.), approval of such application shall permit the least modification of this Zoning Code that will accommodate the proposed structure or facility, if required by federal law.
(.3)   No zoning or use registration permit shall be issued if the applicant is delinquent in the payment of any City or School District of Philadelphia taxes, charges, fees, rents or claims, or any penalties or fines related to the applicant's business for which the applicant is responsible, unless the applicant has entered into an agreement to pay any such delinquency and is abiding by the terms of such agreement. Compliance is required by the person or business required to obtain the license or permit. Proof of compliance by submission of a Tax Clearance Certificate, as defined in Section 9-101, shall be required prior to issuance of any permit. 161
(e)   Action by L&I.
L&I shall review each application under this section and shall approve or deny the application pursuant to the criteria in § 14-303(6)(d) (Criteria for Approval). L&I is authorized to list additional requirements not already stated on an application that are necessary to bring the application into compliance with this Zoning Code.
(f)   Posting of Permits. 162
(.1)   Posting of Permits on the Subject Property.
Within five (5) business days of receipt of any permit under this Zoning Code, including any conditional zoning permit, the permit holder shall post a true copy of the permit on the subject property, along each street frontage (unless impractical) in a place and manner conspicuous to the public, for no less than thirty (30) days.
(.2)   Written Notice of Conditional Zoning Permits.
If the City has listed the street address or an email address for one or more Registered Community Organizations, as defined in § 14-303(11A) 163 (Registered Community Organizations), on a City website page that lists all Registered Community Organizations, then a holder of a conditional zoning permit shall provide written notice to any Registered Community Organization whose registered boundaries include the subject property. Notice shall be sent via hand delivery or certified mail to the street address, or via email to the email address, of any such Registered Community Organization listed on such City website page within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the conditional zoning permit. A written notice containing the address of the subject property and a copy of the conditional zoning permit shall meet the notice obligation required hereby.
(.3)   Posting of As of Right Permits by L&I. 164
No later than 5:00 p.m. of the next business day following the date of issuance of any as of right zoning permit, L&I shall:
(.a)   post the zoning permit on its official website, in searchable format, by date of issuance, name of permit holder, address of permitted property, zip code, and council district; and
(.b)   Send by email to all Registered Community Organizations and all councilmembers a notification of the zoning permit that includes the date of issuance, the name of the permit holder, and the address, zip code, and council district of the permitted property.
(g)   The One Year Rule.
(.1)   L&I shall determine whether a substantially similar application for the same property was finally denied or dismissed by the Zoning Board or a court within one year prior to the date of the application, or whether an appeal is pending (either before the Zoning Board or before a court) of the denial or dismissal of a substantially similar application. If such a determination is made and if the application is not one that L&I may grant as of right under this Zoning Code, then L&I shall deny the application and note on the application "Denied – One Year Rule". 165
(.2)   The issuance of a refusal or referral denoted, "Denied – One Year Rule", may be appealed to the Zoning Board. On such an appeal, the Zoning Board shall hold a hearing limited to two issues: (i) whether L&I properly applied the One Year Rule; and (ii) whether, because of materially changed circumstances, the application should be considered notwithstanding the One Year Rule. Following a public hearing pursuant to § 14-303(14) (Public Hearings) the Zoning Board shall make a decision limited to those two issues.
(.3)   If the Zoning Board's decision is that the application should not be denied on the basis of the One Year Rule, then the Zoning Board shall consider the appeal on the merits in accordance with its usual procedures, including the holding of an additional hearing in accordance with § 14-303(14) (Public Hearings) for which posting notice of the additional hearing shall be required in accordance with § 14-303(13)(c)(.3)(.b) (Continued Hearing) and applicable Zoning Board regulations, but for which no additional fee shall be imposed.
(.4)   The failure of L&I to deny an application on the basis of the One Year Rule may be raised by any affected party in an appeal from L&I's issuance of a permit or in an appeal to the Zoning Board from L&I's refusal to issue a permit for reasons other than application of the One Year Rule.

 

Notes

156
   Amended, Bill No. 130764 (approved December 18, 2013).
157
   Amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013).
158
   Amended, Bill No. 110835-A (approved December 21, 2011), effective August 22, 2012.
158.1
   Amended, Bill No. 210075 (approved March 29, 2021).
159
   Amended, Bill No. 120654 (approved December 11, 2012).
160
   Amended, Bill No. 110835-A (approved December 21, 2011), effective August 22, 2012.
161
   Added, Bill No. 160138-A (approved June 28, 2016), effective January 1, 2017.
162
   Amended, Bill No. 110835-A (approved December 21, 2011), effective August 22, 2012; amended, Bill No. 120774-A (approved January 14, 2013); amended, Bill No. 150643 (approved December 23, 2015).
163
   Cross reference had read § 14-303(12)(a); revised by Code editor to conform to Bill No. 130657 (approved January 31, 2014).
164
   Added, Bill No. 140407 (approved September 10, 2014), effective March 10, 2016.
165
   Amended, Bill No. 180295-AAA (became law October 18, 2018).