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October 03, 2018

Philly finalizes streamlined block party application process

Policy Parties
kenzo block party 2 Hayden Mitman /PhillyVoice

Children from the summer camp program at Lighthouse PAL Center in Kensington, line up for a chance to jump in a bounce house during Wednesday's block party at Front and Somerset streets, hosted by the 25th Police District.

Neighborhood groups planning block parties in Philadelphia will now have a simplified application process to follow when shoring up approval from city officials and police.

A final policy was revealed Wednesday morning, two months after the Streets Department created alarm among residents with the announcement of a "pre-screening approval" application to local police districts.

While block parties always required final approval from local police, the policy revealed in August would have required applicants to get a signed pre-approval form from police before the Streets Department even reviewed their application.

Residents worried that the additional red tape would make it harder for local groups to organize block parties and place too much of the initial decision-making in the hands of police.

The Streets Department confirmed Wednesday that the city will continue to accept online and paper applications from residents with or without the police pre-approval form. Applications submitted without the form will simply be entered into the city's system and police will automatically be notified of the pending request.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome within five days, either by email or mail.

“Block parties are an integral part of Philadelphia’s identity and help to build community,” said First Deputy Managing Director Brian Abernathy. 

“The city will always seek ways to support them and make obtaining block party permits easier for residents. This current change is our latest effort to improve efficiency and streamline the application process.”

The rules for block party applications will follow the same protocol as before. Applications must have 75 percent of the households on the block sign their petition. The application fee remains $25 as long as it is submitted 21 days before the time of the event. Requests made less than 21 days before the event will have the application fee increased to $45.

Changes to the program were made in order to improve the integrity and efficiency of the application process, city officials said.

Resources for the block party application process can be found here.

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