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1301 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA, 19122
United States

215-427-3463

Neighborhood help desk and catalyst for community engagement & action in the South Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia

The SKCP Blog

Notes from 311 and L&I Meeting

South Kensington Community Partners

Thanks to Daniel Ramos, Community Engagement Coordinator for Philly 311, and Brett Martin and Perry Cocco from Licenses & Inspections for joining the June community meeting hosted by South Kensington Community Partners, and to all the neighbors who attended this meeting!

Read on for a few notes and takeaways from the meeting, and please join us on Saturday, June 9 for the 311 Blitz and Bandit Sign Roundup!

Philly311

You can submit a service request to Philly311 in many different ways! Download the 311 app for Apple or Android devices so you can report on the go, or use the desktop site to submit online. You can also call 311 (or 215-686-8686 if you are outside the city), or visit the Walk-In Center (Room 167 at City Hall) during business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:15 am - 4:15 pm).

Common Reporting Mistakes: Often service requests are closed out because the issue was not reported correctly. Check out this handy FAQ for some tips!

Vacant Lots: South Kensington Community Partners’ Land Care program is funded by PHS to care for vacant land in the neighborhood during warm months. This program creates jobs to people in the neighborhood and keeps undeveloped land from becoming hazardous - a win-win! If you see a lot in the neighborhood that needs some love, please reach out to our office (info@southkensingtoncommunity.org) instead of reporting to 311. If the lot is not on our list, we will contact the owner to discuss maintaining the property for a fee that will go to our crew instead of having the owner fined and the lot cleaned by the city.

You can also use Atlas to check on the ownership of lots before you report.

311 Liaison: 311 Liaisons are community members trained to use the online 311 database to better communicate issues in the neighborhood. Ellie at SKCP is a trained liaison and can help get your service request handled if you reach out (ematthews@southkensingtoncommunity.org) with the service request number. You can also get trained as a liaison! The next training is on Monday, June 11. SKCP can also host a training if there is enough interest from community members. Get in touch with Ellie if you're interested!

Licenses & Inspection

Common Violations

Operating Hours - Construction activity is permitted between 7 am and 8pm Monday through Friday, and 8 am to 8 pm on weekends and holidays.

Fencing - site should be secured by fencing to prevent access from street.

Sidewalk - construction sites should leave at least four feet of sidewalk accessible. If more of the sidewalk is blocked, the site must have a sidewalk closure permit through the Streets Department.

Demolition - notice must be posted at the property prior to demolition, and neighbors should receive a notice in their mailbox at least 21 days in advance.

Standing water - sites collecting water create public health risk. Report these to 311 and follow up with the Department of Public Health (215-685-9026)

How to Report: Construction violations should be reported to 311, and in the event of an emergency or urgent concern after hours, please call 911. If you are unsatisfied with the response to your report, you can contact the supervisors at the district office for our neighborhood - Ray Gaines or Guy Porter. They can be reached at 215-683-0588.

North Central Office: The Old / South Kensington neighborhood is covered by the newly opened North Central Office for Licenses and Inspections. This office is located at 1514 Cecil B. Moore Ave and open Monday - Friday, 7:30 am - 4:30 pm. If you are unsatisfied with the response to your reports on violations or have an urgent matter, please contact the supervisors at this location - Ray Gaines or Guy Porter. They can be reached at 215-683-0588.

Bandit Sign Roundup

South Kensington Community Partners

Did you know it is is illegal in Philadelphia to post or pay someone to post a sign on a streetlight, utility pole, traffic sign, historical marker, or street tree??

The Philadelphia Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet is holding an Illegal Signs Roundup from June 1st – June 15th, offering community groups $0.50 per sign up to 500 signs to remove illegal signs posted in the right-of-way throughout the city. Through the Illegal Signs Roundup, the Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet is working with community partners who are working on the ground to remove signs and make Philadelphia neighborhoods cleaner.

South Kensington Community Partners is excited to be participating in this initiative, and hopes our neighbors will join in!

Why collect signs?

we buy houses.JPG

While posting any sign on a streetlight or utility pole is illegal in Philadelphia, the “We Buy Houses” signs often target long-time homeowners who may be behind on mortgage or tax payments and are pressured into selling homes quickly for less than they are worth. This practice targets low-income homeowners and contributes to economic and racial segregation.

These signs are also an eyesore and contribute to litter in the neighborhood.

How can I help?

Help us collect signs! Join us on Saturday, June 9 for a morning of collecting signs and reporting neighborhood conditions to 311. If you can’t make it, feel free to collect signs on your own and drop them off at the SKCP office.

What happens to the money?

SKCP can make up to $250 from participating in this initiative, and will use the funds to further our work to assist low-income neighbors, tend and preserve neighborhood green spaces, host community events, plant trees, clean vacant lots, and bring the community voice to neighborhood development.

What can we do about predatory homebuyers?

Many homeowners feel pressured into selling their homes due to unpaid mortgage or property taxes. Make sure your neighbors know about the Save Your Home Philly Hotline, operated by Philadelphia Legal Assistance, that provides free legal advice and referrals to homeowners at any stage in the foreclosure process. Call 215-334-HOME (4663) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday for help.

Property Tax Appeal 101

South Kensington Community Partners

In April 2018, Notices of Proposed Valuation were sent out for Tax Year 2019. The Notice is not a bill - it is informing of the new proposed value for your property and contains important information that will impact your tax bill. If you did not receive a Notice, it means there has been no change in your property’s value from the previous year.

If you do not agree with the new proposed value of your property, you can request a First Level Review (FLR). Forms to request an FLR were included in the April mailing.

If you did not receive or have misplaced your FLR form, you can get one up from the SKCP office (visit 1301 N 2nd Street 9-5:30, call 215-427-3463, or email Ellie at ematthews@southkensingtoncommunity). You can also call the city at 215-686-9200 to request a form.

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The deadline to request a First Level Review is Friday, May 25.

FLR forms must be submitted by mail and postmarked on Friday, May 25. You should submit one FLR form per parcel and include any information relevant to your appeal including photos or recent appraisals, if applicable.

Why request an FLR? If you disagree with the assessment value of your property, you should request an FLR. The new value will impact your property tax payment, which you can calculate here.

Not sure if you should request a FLR? Check out these maps to see how your assessment compares to your neighbors. If your property assessment is not consistent with others on your block, you might consider an appeal.

What happens after you request an FLR? Based on the information you submit with your request, the Evaluator may decrease, increase, or keep the assessed value the same.

What if you don’t like the outcome of the FLR? You can file a Formal Appeal with the Board of Revision Taxes. This is a more involved process that will include attending a hearing. The deadline to submit your Formal Appeal is October 1, 2018.

What if you miss the FLR deadline? You can file a Formal Appeal with the Board of Revenue Taxes. This is a more involved process that will include attending a hearing. The deadline to submit your Formal Appeal is October 1, 2018.

What if you can’t afford your taxes? If increased property taxes are putting a strain on your budget, consider enrolling in one of the city’s many property tax assistance programs. The Longtime Owner Occupant Program is for longtime homeowners. The Homestead Exemption is for ANY homeowner! Visit the Department of Revenue’s website for more information on assistance for active duty military, senior citizens, and payment plans if you have unpaid back taxes. Or stop by the SKCP office for help!