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Licenses and Inspections, Department of

[Record group 77]
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Agency Function
The mission of the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) is to administer and enforce the City's code requirements for the enhancement of public safety, including building, fire, health, housing, business, and zoning regulations. The Department is responsible for regulating the conduct of businesses and persons by issuing licenses, by conducting inspections, and by enforcing applicable codes and regulations.

The Department is also empowered to take lawful actions necessary to correct dangerous and unlawful conditions, including making necessary emergency repairs to properties, cleaning and sealing abandoned buildings, and demolishing vacant buildings that pose a threat to public safety. In support of its larger mission, the Department seeks to generate revenue sufficient to cover the cost of its activities through the sale of permits and licenses and by the collection of costs expended for demolition and clean and seal actions.

Administrative Subunits
Business and Construction Services
Responsible for enforcing the zoning, building, electrical, and plumbing codes. Enforces federal and state weights and measures laws, provides business licensing, enforces commercial and industrial applications of the fire code, and is also the primary revenue-generator for the Department.
Neighborhood Services
Responsible for cleaning and sealing, demolition, and enforcing the housing code.
Codes Enforcement
Represents the Department in presentation at Municipal Court in matters of code violation litigation. Coordinates Departmental activity with the City Solicitor's office for litigation in Common Pleas Court. Receives and coordinates responses to subpeonas from any court. Also includes Central Clerical Services that supports the Neighborhood Services and Business and Construction Services divisions with clerical support for filing and data entry.
Administrative Services
Provides support for the other three divisions

Agency History
This department was created under the terms of the City Charter of 1951 and given the functions (taken chiefly from the Department of Public Health and bureaus of the abolished Department of Public Safety) of the inspection and enforcement of all zoning, construction, safety, and sanitary regulations provided by ordinance or by the City departments (e.g., Public Health, Fire) charged with establishing those standards, and the issuance of all licenses (except marriage licenses) required by any similar regulations. The enforcement of weights and measures standards was transferred to the Department from the City Commissioners in 1965. Departmental Boards attached to Licenses and Inspections in 1951 include the Zoning Board of Adjustment, an independent agency at its creation in 1933, which is empowered to hear appeals from zoning regulations and to grant variances from them; the Board of License and Inspection Review, created by the Charter, whose function is to hear appeals from licensing decisions and alter them if justified; the Board of Building Standards, created in 1949 in the Bureau of Building Inspection of the Department of Public Safety, which advises the Department on interpretations of the Building Code, suggests rules for its implementation, and examines for approval new building materials and practices; and the Plumbing Advisory Board (the former Board of Plumbing Supervision of the Department of Public Health) whose functions are to examine for approval new plumbing materials and practices, to assist in the preparation of examinations for journeymen and master plumbers, and to hear appeals from plumbing standards decisions and grant variances from them if justified.

Archival Records
77.1 Annual Report (1952-1982, 1985, 1986)

77.2 Reports and Publications (1955-1980)

77.3 Files, "Neighborhood Inspection Program" (1962, 1965-1966)

77.4 Approved Plans, Restorations of Houses in Society Hill Area (ca. 1951 - ca. 1957)

77.5 Yearly Record, Building Permits, Operations, and Estimated Costs (1952-1961)

77.6 Board of Safety and Fire Prevention, Minutes (1967-1974)

77.8 Neighborhood Renewal Program. Files (1967-1972)

77.9 Neighborhood Renewal Program. Appeal Cases Closed (1970)

77.10 Zoning and Use Permit Application Register (January-October 1952)

77.11 Register of Zoning Map Changes (January 1952 - October 1954)

77.12 Commissioner's Files (1961-1963, 1972)

77.13 Application for Code Enforcement Grant (1965)

77.14 Board of Licenses and Inspections Review. Minutes (1952-1983)

77.15 Board of Licenses and Inspections Review. Opinions of the Board (1953-1988)

77.16 Board of Licenses and Inspection Review. Reports to the Mayor (1962-1978)

Current Records
77.a Board of Building Standards / Applications for Variances

77.b Board of Building Standards / Approvals of Materials

77.c Board of Building Standards / Interpretations

77.d Board of Licenses & Inspection Review / Records of Appeal

77.e Central Clerical / Building Permit Applications

77.f Central Clerical / Certification Statements

77.g Central Clerical / Code Violation Reports

77.h Central Clerical / Inspection and Statistical Reports

77.i Contractual Services / Abatement Cases

77.j Contractual Services / Demolition Case Files

77.k Contractual Services / Low Income Heat Energy Assistance Program Summary Records

77.l Contractual Services / Unfit Files, Pending Abatements

77.m Zoning Board of Adjustment / Appeals to Zoning Board of Adjustment

77.n Zoning Board of Adjustment / Court of Common Pleas Appeals of Zoning Board Decisions

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Last updated on November 8, 2000