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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 must 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 to appeal varies by property:

  • Existing one-or-two-family dwellings — $125
  • New one-or-two-family dwellings — $300
  • All other properties — $300
  • Administrative review — $200
  • Reposting of notices — $65
  • Accelerated hearing — $750 per property (maximum of $2250)


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.

Required materials

A complete application package includes:

By mail or in person

To file a paper application, you can mail in the required materials or deliver them in person.

Appointments are required for filing an appeal in person. You can use our online appointment system to schedule your visit. Once you’ve entered your contact information, select “Zoning Board of Adjustment” and choose “File appeal.”

Zoning Board of Adjustment
1515 Arch St., 18th Floor, Room 18-006
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 686-2429, 2430


If you receive a refusal in eCLIPSE, you may file your appeal online. Upload a PDF copy of the completed application package and pay in eCLIPSE.

You must upload all of the required documents with your application. Incomplete applications will not be processed.