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City of Philadelphia


Section 5-903 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter requires approval by the Art Commission of any structure or fixture to be erected on or over the public right-of-way. Newsstand regulations promulgated by the Department of Licenses and Inspections state that the Art Commission shall approve proposed newsstands pursuant to this jurisdiction. Art Commission review is based on the visual impact of a newsstand on its location and surroundings. The presence of a newsstand should not result in a negative visual impact on the streetscape.
Applicants should begin by securing the necessary application forms from the License Issuance Unit of L&I. The completed application, along with any other required materials should be returned to L&I. At the same time, the applicant should forward a separate package containing the following to the Art Commission:

1. A cover letter containing:

  • the name and address of the person to whom the decision should be mailed and, if different, the name & phone number or e-mail address of someone who can answer questions about the application.
  • The exact location of the newsstand (Southeast Corner 15th and Main Streets, in front of 1503 Main Street)

2. Color photographs (no low resolution cell phone photos or Google street views please), at least 3" x 5", one copy of each of the following views:

  • If the newsstand is already on the site, take a photograph of each of the four sides. 
  • If the newsstand is not on site yet, photograph the site from each direction showing surroundings.
Stand back far enough when taking the photos so that surrounding buildings and sidewalk are visible in the photos!

3. If the newsstand is not on site - a drawing showing exactly what it will look like. Include a complete description of materials and colors. If you intend to purchase a pre-manufactured newsstand, photographs or manufacturer’s illustrations of the actual stand should be submitted instead of drawings.

4. A copy of the License Application, including the sketch showing location and approval by Streets Department.

In some cases the Art Commission staff may request additional information such as color and material samples or more detailed drawings.

Applicants do not need to meet with Art Commission staff. Simply mail, e-mail or hand deliver the above information to the Commission office. Hand delivered application packages should be addressed to “William Burke” and left with the 13th floor receptionist. Applicants will be notified by mail of the Commission’s decision. A copy of the decision should then be taken to L&I to complete the license process.