Signage in Privately Owned Public Spaces

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Comment By: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 



The Department of City Planning (“DCP”) is amending Title 62 of the Rules of the City of New York (“Rules”) pursuant to its authority under subdivision e of Section 25-114 of the New York City Administrative Code as added by Local Law 116 of 2017, as amended by Local Law 250 of 2017, and Section 1043(a) of the New York City Charter.

The purpose of this rule is to provide property owners with clear instructions for posting signs at all privately owned public spaces (“POPS”) as defined by Local Law 116 of 2017, as amended by Local Law 250 of 2017 (hereinafter, “Local Law”). The goal of this rule is to ensure that such spaces are identifiable as open to the public and that information about each space is provided with clear, visible, and readable signage at appropriate locations within such spaces. 

Since 1961, the Zoning Resolution has allowed for the creation of many different types of POPS, including plazas, arcades, urban plazas, residential plazas, sidewalk widenings, open air concourses, covered pedestrian spaces, through block arcades, and sunken plazas. POPS are primarily created through incentive zoning; however, some POPS were also created as part of a variance or special permit granted by the City Planning Commission or the Board of Standards and Appeals or required for environmental mitigation. Therefore, POPS, including their design and hours of operation, are governed by various regulations. Some POPS have existing signage provided pursuant to the Zoning Resolution in effect at the time the space was created or pursuant to a zoning approval, such as a special permit. Other POPS currently have no signage because none was previously required, and it is not always clear to the public that such spaces must be publicly accessible. 

For those POPS that have existing signage, the rule would require owners of such POPS tosubmit a complete design review package (which would include drawings that indicate the location and content of signage) to the DCP within two years of the effective date of the rule, updating the existing signage to incorporate any elements required by the Local Law and to also align more closely with current standards for POPS signage systems, as set forth in Zoning Resolution provisions related to such signage. Newly-constructed POPS and POPS being reconstructed pursuant to approved design changes would continue to be subject to the applicable signage provisions of the Zoning Resolution, in addition to being required to provide a site map of the POPS on required signs, if applicable. 

With respect to existing POPS with no currently required signage, this rule would require owners of such POPS to submit a complete design review package to the DCP within 180 days of the effective date of the rule, proposing signage that reasonably complies with the current standards for signage systems and meets the goals described above. The rule would then require this signage, once approved, to be installed within the POPS. 

The rule requires the DCP to review and approve all new and updated signage in POPS. Prescribing a one-size-fits-all signage scheme that would work for all POPS is not possible.  Therefore, given the diverse nature of existing and new POPS of varying sizes and configurations, and with different governing regulations, the rule affords applicants and the DCP flexibility in applying the provisions of the Zoning Resolution where appropriate. 

This proposed rule is being introduced concurrently with a proposed zoning text amendment that would remove references and depictions of the current public space symbol, as referenced in Sections 37-73(h)(2)(viii) and 37-751(a)(1) of the Zoning Resolution, thereby facilitating the selection of a new public space symbol through an open, international design competition.


Public Hearing

Signage in Privately Owned Public Spaces

Public Hearing Date: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 10:00am

No contact

Department of City Planning, Lower Concourse
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271