Skip to main content

Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Zoning Permit

Service overview

The Philadelphia Zoning Code regulates how property is used and developed in the city.

This page contains information about general zoning permits. For instructions regarding specific zoning permit types, visit the following pages:

You don’t need a zoning permit for:

  • Alterations to an existing structure that do not change the:
    • Area.
    • Height.
    • Floor area.
    • Current legal use.
  • Fences at or below the height allowed by the Zoning Code.
  • Swimming pools installed on the property of a one-or-two-family dwelling.
  • Canopies or awnings (120 sq. ft. or less) for one-or-two-family dwellings.
  • Sheds, playhouses, pergolas, and similar structures (in the rear yard and 120 sq. ft. or less) for one-or-two-family dwellings.
  • Concrete or other hard surface materials, such as driveways and patios.
  • Decks. A deck can’t be more than 12 in. above the ground or over any basement or other story.
  • Equipment like generators or air conditioners (as long as they are not within a required setback from the property line and service the property).
  • Exterior painting of murals (as long as the mural is not serving as advertisement).

You can get a Conditional Zoning Permit if your project requires Civic Design Review.

You can get an administrative zoning review to make minor changes to an approval. The changes cannot substantially alter the character of the structure as approved. To qualify for an administrative review, the approval had to be granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Zoning is only one step of the permitting and licensing process. You may require other construction permits and licenses to legally operate or complete your project.

Find your zoning

You can find a property’s current zoning on Atlas.

Use the Zoning Quick Reference Guide to learn more about the zoning regulations for your property.

If the property is in the floodplain

Properties in the floodplain may require special documents or a review meeting.


Any property owner or authorized agent can apply. Authorized agents may include:

  • Tenants.
  • Design professionals.
  • Attorneys.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.


Permit application

The permit application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.

  • If the property is NOT owned by a natural person or a publicly-traded company, provide the name and mailing address of one of the following:
    • Each individual with more than 49% interest in ownership of the property
    • The two individuals with the largest interest
  • If the property was recently sold, submit a copy of the settlement sheet or deed with the application.
  • You must apply for all permits under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
  • If you are a tenant making an application, provide your executed lease agreement.

Applications that don’t require plans

You do not need to submit plans for signs or changes of use if you apply using the EZ Standard for Zoning Sign Installation.

Applications that require plans

You need to submit a site plan for all new construction, additions, lot line adjustments, parking and signs that do not qualify for an EZ Permit.

  • Plans must be drawn to scale on a sheet that is at least 11 in. by 17 in.
  • Include six copies of plans.
  • Limited to two sheets, along with one sheet of supplementary information if needed.
  • Drawn to one of the following scales:
    • Engineer: 1”=10’, 20’, 30’, 40’, 50’, 60’, 100’
    • Architect:   1/16″, 1/8″, 1/4″, 3/16″=1′
  • Printed in grayscale.

Site plan requirements

All applications (except applications using an EZ standard) must provide a site plan with:

  • Cardinal directions.
  • Existing lot lines and dimensions as recorded in the deed.
  • All structures with exterior dimensions, building heights, and number of stories.
  • Decks, roof decks, access structures, and balconies.
  • Dimensions of all yards and other open areas.
  • Curb lines, curb cuts, and right-of-way widths.
  • Any streets, alleys, driveways, or easements bordering or located within the property.
  • The location and dimensions of all off-street parking and loading spaces.
  • Location and number of bicycle parking spaces.
  • New landscaping, screening, and street trees.
  • Location of all existing heritage trees. Note if any heritage trees are being removed on the plans.
  • Sign sizes and locations.

Elevation or section plan

An elevation or section plan is required for new construction, additions, and signs. The plan must show:

  • Building height.
  • Average ground level.
  • Roof lines.
  • Guards, parapets, and similar architectural features.
  • Below grade features for zoning compliance such as parking or trash storage.
  • Sign sizes and locations.

Where and when


You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.

In person

You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.


Filing fee

This fee is determined by the scale of your project. To estimate the cost, refer to the summary of zoning permit fees. If your application is approved, the filing fee will be applied toward the final cost of your permit. This fee is nonrefundable.

Permit fees

The cost of your permit depends on your project. Before applying, review the summary of zoning permit fees to estimate the cost.

Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)

Applications for new construction that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.

  • Fee: $1050.
    • $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the remainder once approved.
  • Accelerated review fees will not be credited toward your final permit fee.

To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review Request form and submit with your permit application.

Administrative zoning review fee: $200

Conditional Zoning Permit fee: $362

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $500,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.10% surcharge. The minimum fee is $1.50.)
  • Debit card (+$3.45 fee)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.10% surcharge. The minimum fee is $1.50.)
  • Debit card (+$3.45 fee)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
  • Cash

Credit and debit card payments

Surcharges and fees are applied automatically to all credit and debit card transactions.

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info.

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
  2. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
  5. You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
  7. You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.

Late license payment

If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.


You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE.

In person

Get any prerequisite approvals before submitting your application to L&I. 
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.
  • Applications that don’t require plans are reviewed while you wait. Many can be issued during your visit.
    • If the application is denied or requires further review, it will be processed within 5 business days.
  • Applications that require plans and are for one-or-two-family uses are reviewed within 15 business days. Applications that require plans and are for all other uses are reviewed within 20 business days.
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.


Log in to your eCLIPSE account and apply for a permit. Upload all required documents and pay the filing fee.

If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.

The application will go to L&I and other City departments for review and approval.

The time it takes to process an application varies by type. Allow an additional business day for pre-processing.

  • Applications for one-or-two family uses are reviewed within 15 business days.
  • Applications for other uses are reviewed within 20 business days.

Applications for new construction that include plans are eligible for accelerated review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.

If approved, the applicant will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.


If your application receives a Notice of Refusal or Notice of Referral, you may appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Your right to appeal a Notice of Refusal or Referral expires 30 days from the date it was issued. These denials can not be extended. You need to submit a new application and filing fee to get a new refusal or referral.

Renewal requirements


  • Zoning Permits that involve building expire in three years if you don’t begin construction at the site.
  • Use Permits expire after six months if the activity does not start.
  • A Conditional Zoning Permit is valid for one year after the date it was issued.

Extending a zoning permit

You can apply for a permit extension starting three months before the permit expires. Extended permits are valid for one year from the expiration date of the original permit, regardless of when the extension is issued.

You can apply for an extension online using eCLIPSE or in person. Refer to the zoning permit extension information sheet for more information.