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So You Want to Build on the Waterfront?

Your waterfront project may need permits from an unlikely source.

The New York City waterfront features beautiful walkways, parks, shops and restaurants. Many developers want to take advantage of the scenic views and warm-weather foot traffic that the waterfront brings.

But with special concerns like flood and environmental laws, projects in this area may require extra permits and approvals from a number of agencies, not just the DOB.

And, believe it or not, one of them is the Department of Small Business Services.

The main goal of SBS is to build economic security and strengthen neighborhoods across the boroughs of New York. This, of course, includes waterfront neighborhoods, so it makes sense they have some jurisdiction over what building and alteration projects are allowed to proceed there.

Here’s what you need to know.

For City-Owned Projects

SBS covers ALL city-owned new building and alteration projects in waterfront districts. You will need SBS to review and permit all of the following:

  • Place of Assembly Cert. of Occupancy (PACO)
  • Temporary Place of Assembly (TPAs)
  • Equipment Use Permits
  • Gas Cards

The DOB still covers:

  • Central Unit Reviews: Boilers, Elevators, Cranes and Construction Equipment
  • Full Building Demolitions and Major Excavations, Scaffolds, Fences
  • Electrical Work
  • Builders Pavement Plan

For Privately-Owned Projects

On the flipside, when it comes to privately-owned projects, SBS is only needed when the project is specifically related to maritime use. This includes:

  • Maritime structures like piers, docks and seawalls
  • Waterfront commerce or navigation structures

Otherwise, privately-owned waterfront buildings fall under the DOB, and cover all review and permits listed above.

What’s the Difference in Filing with SBS?

Instead of going to the DOB to start your filing process, you will need to go to Waterfront Permits and complete their Intake Checklist. This will include getting forms from the DOB and related agencies, since SBS doesn’t have a separate set of forms.

While a pre-filing meeting is required for new applications for large projects, it is suggested that applicants for all new applications make an appointment before submission. These have to be made with the Waterfront Permits Unit.

Also, since these forms won’t be filed with the DOB, you won’t be able to use DOB BIS to track your progress. But you can still email to get updates.

Have an upcoming project on the waterfront? Contact Outsource Consultants to help you navigate this process.