By Andrew Pisani
Local Law 28 of 2019 launched temporary programs to help businesses that have received violations and judgments for sign violations. The legislation also includes educational outreach to help businesses understand sign laws and regulations—and to avoid violations in the future.
Waiver for Civil Penalties
Since February 9, 2019, the Department of Buildings (DOB) has attached civil penalties to Work Without a Permit violations for business signs no larger than 150 square feet in area and no more than 1,200 pounds in weight.
Businesses that received such violations on or after December 28, 2017, and have not yet paid the associated penalties may request a waiver from DOB by submitting the L2: Requests for Overrides, Reductions, or Waivers form at a DOB borough office.
In addition, the Department of Finance (DOF) has launched the 2019 Awning and Accessory Sign Amnesty Program, which allows businesses and individuals to resolve certain accessory sign violations that are in judgment, provided the violations have been corrected.
Moratorium on Sign Violations
Starting February 9, 2019, and continuing through February 9, 2021, DOB will not issue violations for business signs installed before February 9, 2019. Certain signs, however, may not qualify for this moratorium, such as those that threaten public health or safety. In such cases, respondents still need to appear before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) for violation hearings.
Lower Permit Filing Fees
As of August 7, 2019, through February 9, 2020, DOB will waive 75% of sign permit filing fees for applicants who received DOB sign violations that meet the following criteria:
- Summons or violation was issued for a business sign
- Penalty imposed as a result of an OATH hearing was entered as a court judgment
- Judgment amount was paid between June 1, 2006, and February 9, 2019
A temporary DOB program offers technical assistance to businesses that received sign violations between June 1, 2006, and February 9, 2019, and paid the associated penalties. DOB also provides in-person help at the weekly Homeowners Night held at each borough office.
Also, DOB, DOF, and the Department of Small Business Services are joining forces to educate businesses on applicable business sign laws and regulations.
If you have any questions about these programs or need assistance complying with New York City sign regulations, contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.