Do I Need a Permit for Signs in New York?

Permit for Signs in NYC

We get a lot of phone calls about how to properly follow sign regulations in New York City. Many businesses aren’t sure what to do when they are in the market for a new sign in the city and with the hodgepodge of different types of signage through New York City and it’s many neighborhoods it can seem like there are no rules at all.

But, of course, there are some regulations set by New York’s Department of Buildings (DOB) that you need to be aware of when upgrading current signage, starting a new business in NYC, or if you are interested in offering space to advertisers.

There are two types of signs: business signs and advertising signs. Business signs identify your business while advertising signs promote goods and services elsewhere and are only permitted in certain zoning districts. All advertising signs must comply with the Zoning Resolution of your district and failure to do so can result in hefty penalties that start at $5000 per violation.

The DOB must approve storefront signs greater than six square feet in total area, while most sign design plans must be prepared by a state licensed architect or engineer and a sign permit must be issued.

S & M Expediting helps businesses of all sizes meet the many aspects of signage regulations (height, size, illumination, etc.) required by each district’s zoning resolutions by providing access to architects and engineers and applying for all permits on your behalf.

Unpaid Violations? How to Handle DOB and ECB Penalties

As a property owner in New York City, you run the risk of being in violation of hundreds of zoning, construction, environmental, sanitation, and general safety codes. From failing to clean your side walk to a more serious situation such as an Immediately Hazardous Violation, failing to resolve these violations on the first go-round can get you into some serious hot water with New York’s Department of Buildings and the Environmental Control Board.

Not to mention the fact that you could be putting tenants and workers in serious danger. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at what happened to this property in Brooklyn.

In a lot of cases, you may simply be unaware the property you recently purchased came with old violations. To avoid this S & M can help you with property violation research. But, if you find yourself with unpaid violations, it will cost you.

If you fail to pay a violation due to negligence or simply not knowing you have one, the Environmental Control Board (ECB) will manage your case and a hearing will be scheduled. Failure to attend a hearing will result in a default. This means you could found in violation, i.e. guilty, and the maximum penalty is usually imposed. In some cases a penalty can be as high at $25,000!

Not only can the ECB issue these penalties (known as a Civil Penalty) the DOB can also issue a separate Civil Penalty and you could be required to pay even more.

In order to resolve all initial violations and ECB civil penalties, you or a representative must appear in ECB court, or a representative can also handle hearings for you by mail in many violation cases. S & M Expediting specializes in this type of representation and can help you manage all unresolved violations before they turn into expensive civil penalties.

It’s important to remember that failure to pay violations will result in a judgement against you by the Civil Court of New York City. In addition, New York City’s Department of Finance may also start collection activities for all default violations.

Keep your property out of legal trouble—call S & M today.