By Jaime Pabon
Mayor Eric Adams’s Get Sheds Down plan has received a lot of press since it was announced last July. The initiative encourages owners to remove sheds that have been installed for extended periods, with a special focus on stalled façade repair projects. To that end, the city is looking to increase civil penalties for sheds, promote alternative forms of overhead protection, and beautify the temporary structures that remain.
In support of this last goal, Local Law 163 of 2021, which went into effect on October 12, 2023, requires the installation of artwork after 90 days for temporary protective structures installed on or after September 1, 2023. This artwork must be approved by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with approval documentation uploaded to DOB NOW.
LL163/21 Options for Building Owners
Owners have the choice of displaying DCLA-approved artwork or alternative artwork of their choice on temporary protective structures (e.g., sidewalk sheds, construction fences, and supported scaffolds) that have been installed for 90 days.
In addition, owners may elect to opt out of the artwork requirement on the PW1 form in DOB NOW for Sidewalk Shed, Construction Fence, and Supported Scaffold work types. Owners who do not yet have DCLA artwork approval at the time of filing will be required to opt out. In such cases, owners will need to file a post approval amendment after receiving DCLA approval.
Properties owned by the City of New York or that receive capital funding from the city may not opt out of the artwork requirement.
Sidewalk Sheds Excluded from Penalty Waivers
With the publication of the new L2 form, Rev. 8/23, the Department of Buildings (DOB) will no longer waive Work Without a Permit civil penalties for sidewalk sheds with an expired permit. The EXP1 waiver request will still apply to other temporary construction equipment installed with a valid permit that has since expired, including construction fences and scaffolds.
Impact on New York Building Owners
The Get Sheds Down program continues to evolve, and the ultimate impact on building owners remains to be seen. The city appears to be testing the waters regarding owners’ willingness to take part in these efforts to improve sidewalk aesthetics. The City Canvas Program, as laid out in LL163/21, is currently an at-will program, but the city may well link participation to financial incentives in the future. We at Metropolis Group will follow developments closely and provide updates as soon as they’re available.
If you have any questions about these changes or if you need assistance with your project, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.