COVID-19 information: Philadelphia is in a modified, restricted green phase of reopening. For the latest information, visit Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
In effect: 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31 until further notice

Zoning, planning & development

Appeal a zoning decision to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA)

If the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) refuses your zoning/use registration application, you have 30 days to appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). L&I may also refer your case to ZBA. ZBA will consider whether to grant you a variance or special exception. These decisions will allow you to continue with your plans.


You can appeal to the ZBA if:

  • Your application for zoning/use registration permit has been refused.
  • Your case has been referred to ZBA for consideration of a special exception.
  • You wish to appeal a permit issued or any decision by L&I.


Carefully follow the instructions ZBA provides or your hearing will be postponed.

Determine if you need an attorney. Attorney requirements vary, depending on who is being represented.

  • An individual may appear before the ZBA in person or be represented by an attorney authorized to practice in Pennsylvania.
  • A corporation, including nonprofit corporations and LLCs, must be represented by an attorney authorized to practice in Pennsylvania.
  • A partnership may appear before the ZBA by one of its partners with written authorization from the general or managing partner or by an attorney authorized to practice in Pennsylvania.


You will have to pay a filing fee to appeal to the ZBA. The filing fee will be listed on your refusal or referral issued by L&I. The fee for appeals against an L&I decision is $300.


ZBA will schedule your case for a hearing. At that hearing you will be able to testify as to why ZBA should grant the variance or special exception, or overturn the L&I decision. Anyone who wishes to testify regarding your case will be allowed to do so.

If ZBA denies your request, you have 30 days to appeal that decision to the Court of Common Pleas.

To appeal an L&I zoning decision, complete the ZBA Application for Appeal or Application for Special Exception and mail or bring it to the ZBA office. You must also bring:

  • A printed copy of the Project Information Form.
  • Your filing fee.
  • One signed copy of the Notice of Refusal or Referral (or a copy of the decision rendered by L&I).

Mail or bring those materials to:

Zoning Board of Adjustment
1515 Arch St., 18th Floor, Room 18-006
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 683-2429, 2430