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What are the penalties for violating the city’s zoning laws?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2017 | Land Use & Zoning |

There are many people who live in Philadelphia who probably know that the city has zoning laws. However, there may be a temptation on the part of some, even those who might otherwise know better, to attempt to cut corners in the hope they will not get caught breaking the rules.

Just about any law, however, the zoning code carries with it significant penalties, if one chooses to build anyone without getting the necessary permits, such as a permit for a zoning variance. For instance, if one looks through the city’s zoning rules, they will find that the city has the right to enter and inspect the property of its residents to make sure that the zoning rules are followed. This applies even to those who have a zoning permit.

If a violation is discovered, then one of two things might happen. For one, the person can be fined up to several hundred dollars. This might not seem bad, except that the fines can get assessed each day, the property stands in violation. For example, even a simple $300 fine, not much more than a speeding ticket, can become $30,000, if the violation stands for 100 days, a little over 3 months.

In addition, the city has the authority to issue an order requiring any construction to cease and the property to be evacuated until the property is brought in to compliance with the rules. Not surprisingly, the penalties in Philadelphia’s zoning rules are stiff medicine designed to give residents every incentive to follow the rules. Of course, depending on the project, sometimes, following the zoning regulations is a tedious process, which can get quite expense itself. Legal representation may be helpful in this respect.


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