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Zoning, planning & development

Apply for encroachment approval from the Art Commission

If you want to build a structure that extends into or over a public space (such as a street, park, or river), you need approval from the Art Commission. The commission will review the design and location of your proposed encroachment.

Common types of encroachments include:

  • Newsstands.
  • Bus shelters.
  • Electric vehicle chargers.

The commission also reviews proposed streeteries with structures. This review takes place as part of the streetery prerequisite approval process.


Check with the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) about other prerequisite approvals.

To begin, find out about the approvals that L&I may require for your project. This will vary depending on the permit or license you need.

In addition to the Art Commission, you may need approval from:

  • The Department of Streets.
  • The City Planning Commission.
  • Other agencies.

If you require approvals from other groups, get them before contacting the Art Commission.

Submit your application.

Gather your submission materials and submit them by email to

Alternatively, you can submit them to:

Philadelphia Art Commission
1515 Arch St., 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Appointments are required for in-person plan reviews. To schedule, use our online appointment system. Once you’ve entered your contact information, select “Art Commission” and choose “Art Commission plan review.”

Your application will be reviewed.

Art Commission staff will review your application and determine next steps. If necessary, they will forward your application to a subcommittee or the Art Commission.

The review and appeal processes vary depending on the project type.

Submission materials

Cover letter

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Renderings and drawings

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Supporting materials

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What happens next

The review and appeal processes are different depending on the kind of application you submit.

Newsstands and minor encroachments

Commission staff will review applications for:

  • Newsstands.
  • Encroachments with minor visual impact.
  • Encroachments that are temporary.

Staff may approve or reject these kinds of applications independently. If your application is rejected by the staff, you can appeal by presenting to a subcommittee.

Major encroachments

The Art Commission will review applications for:

  • Complex encroachments that require building permits.
  • Encroachments with significant visual impact.