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City of Philadelphia

Registered Community Organizations (RCO)

The Philadelphia Zoning Code includes provisions for ensuring that neighbors of proposed developments are notified and have an opportunity to provide input regarding zoning decisions that may impact them. This is accomplished through a standardized system of direct notification and through public meetings that are held in communities and convened by Registered Community Organizations (RCOs).

RCOs are provided notice by the Planning Commission whenever a zoning variance or special exception is requested, or when a development requiring Civic Design Review (CDR) is formally proposed, within their geographic boundaries. Where there is one affected RCO for a property, this organization convenes the public meeting that applicants are required to attend prior to being heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA); where there is more than one RCO in an area, the District Councilperson has the option to select one or more RCO as the responsible party for convening the meeting, in cooperation with all other affected RCOs; and where there are no RCOs the District Councilperson can either choose to host the public meeting or assign an entity on his/her behalf to do so.

It is important to note that RCOs are recipients of early notification of zoning appeals and are not given any special privileges before the ZBA. Individual community members and/or organizations are entitled to testify at ZBA hearings or to send letters to the ZBA regardless of RCO status. When operating in their capacity, RCOs are bound to a set of requirements outlined in detail below. The Planning Commission keeps an updated list and map of RCOs on this website. Registration for RCO status occurs in June of each year. Each RCO must renew their registration with the Planning Commission every TWO years.

2017 RCO Trainings

The dates for the 2017 RCO trainings have been announced. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission will be holding two trainings for community members that are interested in learning more about the role that RCOs play in Philadelphia. The trainings will cover zoning and the building and development process, and will provide resources to help you prepare for the responsibilities of being an RCO and conducting meetings regarding Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) cases. We encourage both those who are considering registering a new RCO, as well as those who are involved with existing RCOs to attend.

There will be two dates to attend these trainings, which will be held at our Center City Philadelphia office, One Parkway, 1515 Arch Street in the Planning Commission Conference Room, 18th Floor, Room 18-029. There are two options to attend the trainings. The trainings are identical and we ask that you attend only one:

• Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 at 5:30PM
• Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 12:30PM

REGISTER FOR A TRAINING DATE HERE

2017 RCO Registration

The 2017 Registered Community Organization (RCO) registration period will open June 1st, 2017 and will close June 30th, 2017. On June 1st, the application will be available on this website and will be mailed or e-mailed upon request. If you have any questions, please contact RCO@phila.gov.


Bill #170285

On March 23rd, Councilmember Henon introduced Bill #170285, which would make several amendments to the legislation guides RCO registration and related neighborhood notification processes.  

The text of the legislation can be found here.  On April 20th, the councilman hosted a Tele-Town Hall to answer questions and listed to feedback from the public.  A transcript can be found here.



General Information

Fact Sheet

Legislation and Regulations Guiding RCO Activities

Philadelphia City Code (§ 14-303, Subsections (11A) and (12))

PCPC Regulations (Section 12)


Directory of Current RCOs

List of RCOs

Map of RCOs


Other Information for RCOs

RCO Clinic Handout 2016

June 2016 RCO Workshop Presentation Slides
June 2016 RCO Workshop Presentation Script