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Budget, Education & City Services

‘Shed the Shed’ Initiatives and legislative package regarding Sidewalk Shed

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, June 08, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 37 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, New York City has over 280 miles of scaffolding, also known as sidewalk sheds; and

WHEREAS, Manhattan has over 4,000 of these sidewalk sheds; and

WHEREAS, Sidewalk sheds are erected to prevent masonry and debris falling into the streets; and

WHEREAS, Sidewalk sheds stay up an average of 498 days; and 

WHEREAS, Some sidewalk sheds have remained in place for years; and

WHEREAS, Sheds negatively impact local businesses and quality of life and remove space from the public realm; and 

WHEREAS, Sheds often remain in place as a cheaper alternative to expensive facade repairs; and 

WHEREAS, Shed the Shed initiative proposed by the Manhattan Borough President along with a legislative package of nine bills introduced by Council Members Powers, Bottcher and Marte have been created to strengthen oversight around scaffolding, provide incentives for building facade compliance and provide measures to shorten the time period sheds may remain in place; and 

WHEREAS, The public right of way is extraordinarily valuable and the goal of this initiative and the accompanying bills is to ensure that the public realm is reclaimed for public use; and 

WHEREAS, The initiative and bills are still in the formative stage and;

WHEREAS, The package of bills is designed to work in tandem to achieve maximum impact; and 

WHEREAS, The proposed bills and initiatives will require further discussion and determination as to their specific requirements along with coordination with the Department of Buildings and

WHEREAS: Intro 970 will establish new design requirements for scaffolding, such as allowing the structures to be painted in several different colors, raising sheds to a12 foot  minimum height and provide alternatives to scaffolds such as the use of mesh nets; 

WHEREAS, Intro 971 will require any trees that are damaged or removed when setting up equipment to be repaired or replaced within 6 months; and

WHEREAS, Intro 972 will create timelines for the removal of scaffolding if no active construction is taking place and allow the City to correct the unsafe conditions on the facades and bill the property owner for the repair; and

WHEREAS, Intro 973 will allow newly constructed buildings to have their first facade examination take place in eight years instead of five since they use safer materials; and 

WHEREAS, Intro 973 will also require the Department of Buildings to coordinate inspections on the same block so facade repairs happen simultaneously; and 

WHEREAS, Intro 452 will allow the City to consider a pilot program involving drones, in conjunction with physical examinations, for the inspection of building faces; and 

WHEREAS, Intro. 954 will establish heightened design standards for scaffolding that is obstructing public amenities like parks and playgrounds; and

WHEREAS, Intro. 955 will provide for better lighting under the scaffolding, replacing outdated lighting technology with new LED lighting strips and for a uniform light level to be present throughout a shed; and 

WHEREAS, Intro. 956 will require property owners to apply for facade work permits within six months after scaffolding is erected and if they have not done so they will be subject to fines; and 

WHEREAS, Intro 966 requires the Department of Buildings to inspect scaffolding every six months and issue an administrative fee per inspection; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five members have requested that cameras be included as a part of any change to these legislative changes; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five members have expressed dismay with the proliferation of sheds throughout the district; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five members have indicated that this multifaceted proposal and associated bills provide a good first step in combating these sheds; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five members recognize that this initiative and bills are a holistic approach that are currently a work-in-progress which will become more comprehensive and have more clarity over time; and

RESOLVED Community Board Five supports Shed the Shed Initiatives and legislative package of bills.  

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