High Volume of NYC’s Long-Time Standing Sidewalk Sheds Takes the Spotlight

Despite the “Get Sheds Down” initiative revealed by the New York City administration back in July 2023, the high volume of long-time installed side-walk sheds and scaffolding that entrench numerous buildings throughout the city remains a persistent problem. In contrast to the outdated rules governing construction sheds that have incentivized property owners to leave construction sheds up for long periods of time, the new plan incentivizes property owners to expedite repairs, and remove sheds with expired permits from public sidewalks in part by pushing legislation implementing new monthly financial penalties for “most sidewalk sheds located in the public right of way that are not directly related to new construction or demolition projects” starting 90 days after a shed is first permitted. Other aspects of the plan included the exploration of creating a low-interest loan program to help finance façade work repair for struggling small property owners and reevaluating the frequency of Local Law 11 Inspections which are currently required every five years for buildings higher than six stories, accounting for about 40% of shed proliferation. However, as of mid-February, more than 8,300 sheds spanning some 360 miles of the city’s sidewalks are installed based on active permit data from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), but don’t take into account whether a property owner changed vendors or briefly removed, and then replaced, scaffolding under a new permit. Among the total number, around 300 are more than five years old and Manhattan accounts for roughly 46% of the citywide total. Some of the issues fueling the buildup include “insufficient oversight by regulators; supply bottlenecks, particularly for specialty times needed by landmark buildings; and financial struggles for low-income buildings.” Despite the DOB recently stepping up its efforts to take building owners to court over longstanding sheds, some New Yorkers that live in buildings surrounded by scaffolding for many years are not optimistic that current proposal will lead to change.

Source:    https://www.wsj.com/us-news/new-york-city-cant-fix-sidewalk-shed-problem-5f46aef3

Source:    https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/537-23/mayor-adams-dob-commissioner-oddo-plan-remove-unsightly-sheds-scaffolding-nyc#/0