Amendment of Street Fair Permit Rules
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:45)
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management (OCECM), which oversees the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), has been designated by the Mayor under Executive Order Nos. 100 and 105 of 2007 to administer the rules governing the issuance of permits on city streets.
Each year since 2004 the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has asked SAPO to exercise its discretion to temporarily deny permits for additional multi-day and single-day multi-block street fairs because these place an excessive burden on police resources and divert uniformed personnel from core crime fighting, public safety and counterterrorism duties. This ‘moratorium’ on additional street fairs has helped to maintain safety and security in New York City. After 12 years of implementing this policy the City decided to reevaluate the policy to determine whether revisions were necessary to serve community needs, while at the same time recognizing NYPD’s continued concerns.
To make this determination, OCECM undertook an extensive review of the current state of street fairs and collected substantial information through:
- in-person surveys of street fair participants;
- a general consumer survey open to all;
- surveys of businesses in case study areas; and
- outreach to managers and members of business improvement districts and community boards.
Results of Analysis
Impact on Already Congested Areas
In calendar year 2016, approximately 200 street fairs will take place, with the majority located in the borough of Manhattan and concentrated in Community Boards 2, 5 and 7. This disproportionate concentration has several negative effects and does not serve the public interest. The high number of street fairs in Manhattan increases traffic congestion and burdens on local communities, particularly within Community Board 5 in the vicinity of Times Square. Multiple street fairs on the same day within the same community board increases the burden on local communities.
Interest in Street Fairs in Boroughs Outside Manhattan
The OCECM surveys identified high public interest in street fairs in boroughs other than Manhattan where residents do not currently have the same access to street fairs. Furthermore, street fairs have the potential to better support local business development and community building when they are more closely tied to the communities which host them. Strong public support exists for increasing the representation of neighborhood businesses at street festivals.
The Proposed Rule
Recognizing the significant government interest in broadening access to street festivals by ending the moratorium without overburdening NYPD resources, OCECM proposes an update to the rules governing street events. Specifically, the proposed rules:
- redefine street fairs as street festivals to conform to agency permit issuing practices and distinguish between multi-block/multi-day and single-block/single day festivals
- limit the number of street festival and single block street festival permits that can be issued annually within a community board, within Manhattan, and citywide,
- require applicants to submit applications for single block street festival permits no later than 90 days prior to the proposed event,
- establish November 1 through December 31 as the time when applications for street festivals must be submitted for the subsequent year,
- limit the length of time street events can occur,
- clarify the definition of community sponsor,
- require that at least 50% of vendors participating in an event have a business or local presence within the same community board where the street festival or single block street festival occurs, and
- change the fees imposed for street fairs to a method that reflects the City’s costs related to administration and traffic control for these events.
SAPO authority for these rules is found in section 1043 of the New York City Charter and Executive Order Nos. 100 and 105 of 2007.