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:
- 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.
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.
Gather your submission materials and submit them by email to email@example.com.
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.”
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.
Your cover letter must:
- Describe the type of encroachment, including its location, dimensions, and materials.
- Specify whether you are proposing a new encroachment or if it already exists.
- Summarize the status of other required reviews or approvals.
The letter should also include names, mailing addresses, and email addresses for:
- The contact person for the application. This person should be able to answer questions about the project.
- The person who should receive the commission’s decision.
You must include current color photographs of the site and its surroundings. Do not use online street views.
Renderings and drawings
You must include scaled working drawings of the design. All dimensions, materials, and colors must be labeled. Submissions typically include:
- A perspective drawing or photo overlay (in color) that shows the encroachment on site. If the encroachment already exists, you should submit photos instead of drawings.
- A site plan showing the relation of the encroachment to the property lines and adjacent streets.
- The elevations of the proposal.
You must include proof of required approvals from other agencies. Submit the drawings stamped with their approval or include their letter of approval.
The commission may request other supporting information.
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:
- 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.
The Art Commission will review applications for:
- Complex encroachments that require building permits.
- Encroachments with significant visual impact.