Amendment of Sidewalk Cafe Rules

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule


Subchapter 6 of Title 20, Chapter 2, of the Administrative Code authorizes DCA to license and regulate sidewalk cafés. Section 14-01 of Article I, Chapter 4, of the Zoning Resolution states that the “[p]hysical criteria, including structural and operational requirements for . . . unenclosed sidewalk cafes in particular, shall be regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs[.]” To help support public understanding of DCA’s licensing and regulation of sidewalk cafés and compliance by businesses, DCA made updates to Subchapter F of Chapter 2 of Title 6 of the Rules of the City of New York (Rule or Rules). These rules:


· Incorporate the definition and physical criteria for small sidewalk cafés provided in Sections 12-10 and 14-30 of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York.


· Clarify the meaning of “public sidewalk,” pursuant to Section 20-223(a) of the NYC Administrative Code (Code), by incorporating the definitions for “sidewalk” provided in Section 19-101 of the Code and Section 4-01(b) of Title 34, Chapter 4, of the Rules.


· Clarify that a petition for a revocable consent or an application for a license must include all materials required by DCA.


· Clarify how consent fees will be calculated when DCA receives a petition to convert an unenclosed sidewalk café to an enclosed sidewalk café or an enclosed sidewalk café to an unenclosed sidewalk café.


· Provide that DCA may allow a business to continue paying consent fees in installments even after a business has failed to make timely payment of at least two installments.


· Amend the process for seeking a waiver when an object is placed on the sidewalk after an initial revocable consent and license have been granted.


· Add an exemption that would allow a sidewalk café to be maintained or operated on an elevation (i.e., platform) that is deemed a historic feature by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.


· Amend insurance requirements, including: expand the list of companies from whom DCA may accept an insurance company rating, clarify that coverage for the City includes coverage for its officials and employees, add ISO Form CG 2012 as an acceptable standard for additional insured coverage, and clarify acceptable proof of insurance.


· Add a presumption that an unenclosed sidewalk café is being maintained or operated on the public sidewalk if the tables and chairs are located between the building line and the curb.


· Include plain language revisions throughout.


Additionally, working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying those rules that will be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small business, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. The amendment of Rule 2-43 is responsive to this review.