Building Beyond the Property Line

By Austin Regan

Changes are soon to come to Chapter 32 – Encroachments Into The Public Right of Way.

For the first time, marquees will be allowed on office buildings (BC  3202., which will give designers more flexibility in creating unique and dramatic entrances to their buildings. Permitted balconies have also gotten wider. Formerly allowed to project 22” from the front property line, they can now extend 2’-6” (BC 3202.2.1.3). Before placing new balconies over the front façade, please note the exception which permits only 24 SF of projections for every 240 SF of façade. The area calculation also includes the railings and the space between railings.

Some of the trendier changes include projections of up to 2’-6” for sun control devices (BC 3202.2.1.9) and permission to place supports for flood shields up to 6” beyond the property line above grade and up to 12” below grade.

Encroachments not listed in Chapter 32 may be obtainable through the Revocable Consent process. Run by the Franchises division of DOT, applications for Revocable Consent are reviewed by 10 City agencies including the Landmarks Preservation Commission or Public Design Commission where applicable. If the consent request is approved, a leasing arrangement is created between the City and the building owner, where the owner pays a yearly rent to the City to use City property.