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City of Philadelphia

Registered Community Organizations (RCO)

2019 RCO Registration
The 2019 Registered Community Organization (RCO) registration period is now open, from now until June 30th. Applicants can submit applications online by clicking here. Applicants can also submit RCO registration by mail or in person by downloading, printing and completing this form, along with required attachments. For more information on application requirements see the paper application, the General Information and RCO Trainings and Resources sections below, or attend one of our upcoming RCO Training sessions.

2019 RCO Training
This free workshop is for members of existing RCOs (Registered Community Organizations) and for groups considering applying as an RCO. The presentation-style format will walk you through the approvals process for any construction project in Philadelphia and the roles of the Planning Commission, Civic Design Review board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) and RCOs. Training sessions will be held on June 6th at 12:30 PM and June 12th at 5:30 PM.

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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.