New penalties on the way for ‘nuisance’ businesses

Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced the "Nuisance Business Bill."

Philadelphia businesses could soon be fined or shut down for the bad behavior of their patrons and those who hang around outside.

Mayor Kenney on Monday will hold a ceremonial signing for the “Nuisance Business Bill,” which he technically signed June 29 and which went into effect 60 days later.

“This law is critically important for improving the quality of life in our communities and the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who introduced the legislation, said in a news release. “If businesses are proactive in deterring nuisance behavior, I am confident that neighborhoods will improve and thrive.”

Nuisance behaviors, under the law, include illegal consumption of alcohol, drug activity, obstructing a sidewalk, gambling, loitering, public urination, prostitution, littering and parking vehicles on sidewalks. Under the legislation businesses can be cited for nuisances on their property and also on the abutting sidewalk or street.

Businesses that receive three citations in 60 days or seven in 12 months will be required to work on an official abatement plan with the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Businesses that do not cooperate can face fines or closure.

“We know that it is often the case that business owners are victims themselves of this neighborhood nuisance crime,” Mayor Kenney in the release. “But in those instances where business owners are being negligent, we want to ensure the City has the appropriate tools to help the surrounding community.”

The ceremonial signing will take place Monday afternoon outside a recently shuttered business in Germantown that Bass’s office said was known for attracting nuisance behaviors.

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