Client Alert: L&I Can Extend a Zoning Permit For One Year Under Ordinance 090127


City Council Ordinance 090127 allows a holder of a Zoning Permit to administratively extend, for one time, that Zoning Permit for one year.  Most Zoning Permit holders are unaware of this opportunity, as well as how the Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I) has chosen to interpret and implement the Ordinance provisions.  This Alert according explains the current implementation of, and Klehr Harrison’s experience with, extending Zoning Permits under the Ordinance.

Current Duration of Zoning Permits

A Zoning Permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Within one year thereafter, a Building Permit must be obtained from the L&I to perform the work authorized by the Zoning Permit to keep the Zoning Permit alive.  (If no work is involved, then the Zoning Permit is only valid for 3 months).  If the Zoning Permit approval was granted by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (“Zoning Board”), the holder of the Zoning Permit effectively has 2 years from the date of the Zoning Board’s decision to obtain his Building Permit, provided that he obtains his Zoning Permit within 1 year of the date of the Zoning Board’s decision.  Once the Building Permit is issued, work pursuant to the Building Permit must be carried on to completion without voluntary interruption for 6 consecutive months. 

Procedure to Extend Zoning Permits

Ordinance 090127 now authorizes L&I to issue a one-year extension to a previously issued Zoning Permit, even if the Zoning Permit has recently expired.  To obtain an extension, a new Zoning Permit Application is filed with L&I requesting that the extension be granted under the Ordinance, along with providing 6 copies of the last approved Zoning Site Plan that contains all of the prerequisite Planning Commission Street Department, Water Department and Art Commission approval stamps where applicable. 

Important Ordinance Limitations    

There are limitations on L&I’s ability to extend a Zoning Permit. 

1.      The Ordinance is silent as to how old a Zoning Permit can be and yet be extended.   However, at this time, L&I has reissued Zoning Permits originally issued up to three years ago.     
2.      The Ordinance does not extend Zoning Permits for a “Use” only, where no construction or alteration is involved that requires no related Building Permit for the Use. 

3.      L&I will extend a Zoning Permit one time only under the Ordinance.

4.      The Ordinance expires on June 3, 2012.

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Klehr Harrison’s Land Use & Environmental Department focuses on land use permits and approvals, and works daily with L&I and the relevant agencies involved in reviewing Zoning and Building Permit Applications.  Klehr Harrison has developed numerous strategies to succeed in obtaining such Permits and approvals, and takes pride in designing approaches to obtain the best tailored result for your situation.  While this Ordinance allows for a one-year extension of a current or recently expired Zoning Permit, we urge you to discuss all available options and strategies with us, as a Zoning Permit issued under the Ordinance may not be the best Zoning Permit for your situation.

If you have any questions or need any further information about this Alert, please call or e-mail Ronald J. Patterson (215-569-4585, Carl S. Primavera (215-569-1663 ), Brett D. Feldman (215-569-3697, or any of our other Land Use and Zoning attorneys