A concert at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping was almost closed due to a zoning complaint from neighbors

After a neighbor filed a complaint, L&I granted the famous gardening company a special exemption.

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Instead of a press conference to undermine the results of a presidential election, the Northeast Philadelphia parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping hosted a few hundred people on Saturday for a different reason: a live music concert.

The show, starring Florida punk rocker Laura Jane Grace with an opener from Chicago singer Brendan Kelly, sold out in 17 minutes flat when it was announced on July 8.

But he almost stopped before he even started.

A day after the show was announced to glowing nationwide coverage of publications like Rolling Stone, The Hill, Pitchfork and Variety, an unnamed Philly resident filed a complaint with the city’s licensing and inspection department, seeking to put an end to the whole idea. .

Over a month later, an L&I inspector visited Total Landscaping and broke the news to Sean Middleton, Total Landscaping Sales Director:

You did not apply for the appropriate permit, the inspector said, so you cannot organize this event.

“I was worried,” said Middleton, a 35-year-old Bucks County native who is also the person behind the brand. irreverent Twitter account. “You’d think the city wouldn’t want to make this difficult, given all the positive press.”


With the concert sold out in less than a week, it suddenly seemed threatened.

“We thought we got the right event permit,” Middleton told Billy Penn. He and his colleagues, business owners Marie and Mike Siravo, had previously alerted the office of council member Bobby Henon and the 15th Police District, he said. “We wanted everyone to know. “

After many trips back and forth, he was able to work with local authorities to go through the regulations and redress the situation.

“We have taken all the necessary precautions, we are doing all the preparation work, pointing our Is and crossing our Ts,” Middleton said Thursday. “The permit is in our window. The event has now been blessed by the city, shall we say.

He described Port-a-Potties lined up for concert goers and new stones laid throughout the lot. At the gates, which open at noon for the 1 p.m. show, event booking manager Dave Kiss Productions will check for proof of vaccination and ask people without masks to mask themselves. Security was hired and a site map was submitted to the city.


It all happened with the help of council member Henon’s office, Middleton said, crediting them with helping convince the city to let the show go on.

The initial problem? To host an event like this in Philadelphia, the owner must obtain a “gathering and entertainment permit,” according to city spokesperson Kevin Lessard. But as the anonymous neighbor’s complaint observed, this type of permit is not permitted in Zoning District 1-2 which encompasses Total Landscaping’s address at 7339 State Rd. L&I has the authority to grant a license. temporary zoning approval, Lessard said, but there’s a bunch of paperwork to fill out, as well as a formal application.

In the end, Licensing and Inspection Commissioner Ralph DiPietro himself made a special exception for Total Landscaping, although he also made it clear that this would not happen again.

“This will be considered a one-time exception,” city spokesman Lessard said. “If they wish to organize subsequent events, a zoning permit and possibly a special assembly license will be required.”

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Terri S. Tomasini