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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.

2018 RCO Registration

The 2018 Registered Community Organization (RCO) registration period will open June 1st, 2018 and will run until June 30th, 2018.

RCO Trainings:

We will have two trainings in June for groups who are unfamiliar with RCO registration, or groups looking for a refresher. These trainings will be at One Parkway Building, 1515 Arch Street, Room 18-029 on:
  • Wednesday, June 6th, 2018:5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Monday, June 11th, 2018: 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Register here: http://www.rco.ticketleap.com/rco/. Please RSVP at least 1 day prior to each workshop to ensure your spot.

Application:

The application will be available here starting June 1st: https://philarco.wufoo.com/forms/phj6rv50eeajna/. To prepare for the application period, please begin compiling the following documents:

Volunteer Organization/Civic Assoc./PA Nonprofit/Unincorporated Association/Other:

• Statement of purpose (MUST concern land use, zoning, development, or preservation)
• Copy of the governing rules/bylaws (MUST include description of the geographic boundaries of the organization AND a definition of the group’s membership AND a description of the leadership selection process)
• Schedule of the organization’s regular public meetings
• Copy of a recent announcement of a public meeting
• Names and positions of the organization’s leadership

Neighborhood Improvement District (NID)/Special Services District (SSD):

• Copy of City Council Ordinance establishing the NID or SSD

Ward:

• Ward number and political affiliation
• Schedule of the organization’s regular public meetings
• Copy of a recent announcement of a public meeting