Overbrook Avenue at 64th Street.

Overbrook Avenue at 64th Street.

How does designation affect the permit process?

Preservation oversight by the Philadelphia Historical Commission (PHC) is legally an extension of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses & Inspections (L&I), which assures that building code, life safety, and zoning-related requirements are upheld for all new construction and the renovation of existing structures.

So, when applying for permits for any renovations that affect the exterior of your property, in particular in view of the street, L&I will first refer your application the staff of the Historical Commission for approval. Currently, 95% of all applications are approved by PHC staff within 5 days.

If there are disagreements about preservation matters, the case may be referred to the Hardship Committee of the PHC, and the full Commission board where owners can argue their case. If you encounter difficulties working with the PHC, please let the board of the Overbrook Farms Club know (ofcexecutivecommittee [at] gmail.com), and we can try to advocate for you, based on our relationships at the PHC.

  1. Your contractor submits permit applications for work to L&I.

  2. If your address falls within the Overbrook Farms Historic District, L&I refers the application first to the PHC.

  3. PHC reviews (and hopefully) approves the work outright, or negotiates with the contractor/owner over a solution.

  4. The approved application goes back to L&I for building and zoning code compliance review and final approval.