Cure is worse than the disease for sidewalk shed problem, REBNY and city say

Proposed bill would make landlords get rid of sheds if no work is done on building for seven days
November 03, 2017 10:30AM

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, a sidewalk shed and John Banks (Credit: Getty Images and Jhila Farzaneh for The Real Deal)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the real estate industry do not always get along, but they have found one thing to agree on: a proposed solution for the city’s sidewalk shed epidemic is a bad idea.

The bill proposed by Councilmember Ben Kallos would require landlords to take down sheds at buildings where no work has been done for seven days, and although he proposed the bill late last year, it just recently had a hearing, according to Crain’s.

While the de Blasio administration and the real estate community agreed that the sheds are ugly, they both said Kallos’ bill could make them come down too quickly, which would put public safety at risk.

The Real Estate Board of New York argued that the bill would have unintended consequences, noting that it would be very costly for landlords to take the sheds down and reinstall them given how often construction projects are delayed for reasons beyond their control.

REBNY plans to meet with Kallos on Nov. 15 to discuss his bill, and the council member will hold a public meeting about it on Nov. 14 at his office.

A map from the Department of Buildings released in May showed that the city had more than 7,700 sidewalk sheds spanning 280 miles. [Crain’s] – Eddie Small