2016-10-12 / Features

City Set To Curb Street Fests

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Street fairs are an integral part of life in Astoria and Long Island City, bringing with them a cavalcade of food and fun from spring to fall every year.

Now, after more than a dozen years the city is ending a moratorium on new permits for street fairs and proposing an update to the rules governing street events.

A public hearing on the proposed amendment to the rules will be held tomorrow, October 13 at 10 a.m. in Room A at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, on the 12th Floor, 100 Church Street in Manhattan.

The Office of Citywide Event Coordination (OCECM) through the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) has redefined street fairs into two separate permits to distinguish multi-block/multi-day festivals from single-block/single-day festivals.

“A Single Block Street Festival means a street event sponsored by a community sponsor headquartered within the same community board as the proposed event that requires a street closure of one block for a single calendar day, in which the general public can purchase goods or services provided by vendors, and vendors may pay a fee to participate,” according to OCECM. “A street festival means a street event sponsored by a community sponsor headquartered within the same community board as the proposed event that requires a street closure of one block for multiple calendar days or more than one block for one or more calendar days, in which the general public can purchase goods or services provided by vendors, and vendors may pay a fee to participate.”

Each year since 2004, the NYPD has asked SAPO to temporarily deny permits for additional multi-day and single-day multiple block street fairs because of the burden these events place on police resources. About 200 street fairs will have taken place this year by the end of December, with the majority located in Manhattan.

SAPO is proposing to limit the number of street festival permits that can be issued citywide to no more than 200 permits in a calendar year.

The number of permits for street festivals in a calendar year would further be limited to 100 in the borough of Manhattan with no more than 10 issued per local community board.

No more than 20 permits would be issued for single-block street festivals per community board in any calendar year. A requirement that at least 50 percent of vendors participating in an event have a business or local residence within the same community board where the street festival or single block festival occurs is also being proposed.

Applicants for single block festivals will be required to submit their permit applications no later than 90 days prior to the event, while applications for street festivals must be submitted between November 1 and December 31 for the subsequent year.

According to Community Board 1, permits were issued for eight multi-block street festivals and six single-block festivals in 2016. In addition, permits were also issued for 25 block parties, 10 special events, 12 religious events, six production events, two miscellaneous events, one street event, one sport/adult event and one sidewalk sale.

For more information visit https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/content/amendment-street-fair-permit-rules.

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