May 11, 2022 - Politics

Primary election guide: Philadelphia's ballot questions

Illustration of I Voted stickers, piled on top of one another.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia voters will be asked to answer four ballot questions in the primary this upcoming Tuesday.

  • Here's what you can expect to see — and what the questions mean.

Question 1:

"Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to revise the composition of the Zoning Board of Adjustment by increasing the number of mayoral appointees from five to seven; by requiring Council confirmation of the mayor’s appointments; and by specifying qualifications that appointees must possess, including a demonstrated sensitivity to community concerns regarding development and the protection of the character of Philadelphia's neighborhoods?"

Translation: Should the mayor be allowed to suggest two additional members to the city board that hears appeals from people or companies looking to develop properties that don't comply with existing zoning laws?

  • Also, should City Council have more power to decide who gets to be on the board?

What it means: If it gets approved, the board would increase from five to seven members, including an urban planner, an architect, a lawyer with zoning experience, a person with construction industry experience and at least two community members.

Question 2:

"Should The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to remove all gender-based references?"

Translation: Should the Home Rule Charter language be changed to gender-neutral terms throughout?

What it means: If approved, all gender references for municipal employees will become neutral.

Question 3:

"Should the Educational Supplement to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to remove all gender-based references?"

Translation: It's the same as Question 2 but applicable to the rules for the Philadelphia Board of Education and the city's school district.

What it means: If approved, all gender references for all education titles within the charter will become neutral.

Question 4:

"Should the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to establish the Fair Housing Commission as an independent commission to administer and enforce statutes and ordinances concerning unfair rental practices and certain other matters concerning the landlord and tenant relationship and to adjudicate disputes related to such matters?"

Translation: Should the commission that enforces laws related to unfair rental practices be made permanent?

What it means: If approved, the Fair Housing Commission stays. Nothing about how the board is appointed or makes decisions will change.

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