Registered Community Organization information from PCPC


Registered Community Organizations and Civic Design Review established in new zoning code, signed into law in December 2011. New zoning code will become effective August 22, 2012. Regulations adopted by City Planning Commission on April 17

Purpose of RCOs

Provide early notice to community of:

  • Cases that will go before the Zoning Board
  • Large projects (even when by-right) that will have an impact on the public realm
  • Make development process more predictable by codifying the role of community organizations

Two Types of RCOs

Local RCOs

Issue-Based RCOs

Local RCOs

  • Geographic area of concern:  a neighborhood
  • RCOs can have overlapping boundaries
  • If no registered RCO, District Councilperson serves

Issue-Based RCOs

  • Geographic area of concern: larger than one neighborhood
  • Entitled to notice only 

Benefits of RCO Status

Developer will:

  • Provide RCOs with early notice of ZBA hearings and Civic Design Review meetings for projects located within the group’s boundaries; and
  • Meet with Local RCO prior to ZBA hearing or Civic Design Review.
  • Local RCO will have seat on the Civic Design Review committee for projects located within the RCO’s boundaries.
  • RCOs will be listed and mapped on PCPC website.


  • Must apply to PCPC to become an RCO
  • Must renew each year to remain an RCO
  • Hold a meeting with applicant and document the meeting within 45 daysIf more than one RCO, the groups must coordinate to hold one meeting
  • Designate a representative for Civic Design Review Committee

Qualifying Criteria

Local RCOs

  • Meetings must be open to the public and scheduled on a regular basis
  • Meetings must be publicly announced through flyers, newsletters, newspapers, electronic or social media, or other method accepted by PCPC Executive Director
  • Have a board, executive committee, or other leadership whose members are chosen through open elections
  • Have written rules, such as by-laws or articles of incorporation, that establish the mission and geographic boundaries

Geographic area of concern:

  • At least 5 city blocks
  • No more than 7 square miles
  • Any changes to the boundaries must be publicly announced through flyers, newsletters, newspaper notice, electronic or social media, or another form accepted by PCPC Executive 


The organization must draw its membership from the geographic area of concern

Qualifying Criteria:

 Issue-Based RCOs

  • Have governing documents, such as by-laws or articles of incorporation, that establish the mission and geographic boundaries
  • Must be incorporated as a Pennsylvania non-profit

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