The Daily Dirt: City Council zeroes in on sidewalk shed invasion

Committee considers 13 bills to stem proliferation of structures

City Council Considers Package of Sidewalk Shed Bills

A photo illustration of DOB Commissioner James Oddo (Getty)

The City Council is considering a package of bills to reduce how long sidewalk sheds can clutter city streets. Officials also want them to be less ugly.

Last year, the Adams administration launched “Get Sheds Down,” an initiative focused on the nearly 400 miles of construction sheds throughout the boroughs.

On Tuesday, Department of Buildings Commissioner James Oddo testified that since launching the initiative, the city has removed 240 long-standing sheds (the average duration of these structures citywide is 490 days) and issued 25 criminal summonses against owners.

There is still a long way to go.

The City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings on Tuesday heard testimony on 13(!) shed-related bills.

Oddo said he saw a lot of common ground and opportunities to work with the Council to reach a consensus on the bills, but he also pointed out that some seem redundant or premature.

For example, one measure would require the agency to launch a pilot program for using drones to inspect building façades. The NYPD has already issued rules allowing drone use in the city, so Oddo doesn’t see a need for a pilot.

Another bill seeks to bump the first required façade inspection for newly-constructed buildings from five years post-completion to eight. Oddo pointed out that the administration hired Thorton Tomasetti to study the city’s Façades Inspection & Safety Program, or FISP, and to recommend changes. The agency would prefer to hear those recommendations before altering the program.

The Real Estate Board of New York supports a number of the measures in full or in part, but voiced concern about a measure that would require the city to inspect sheds every six months. Those inspections are already required, but are conducted by a qualified third party.

“Shifting that burden to an understaffed and underfunded Department of Buildings is neither necessary nor advisable and would take away from its ability to undertake other critical tasks,” the group said in prepared testimony.

Oddo agreed, saying he “does not believe inspecting the entire universe of sidewalk sheds is a wise use of its inspectorial resources.” The agency does, however, support reducing the duration of sidewalk shed permits from one year to 90 days and levying penalties in cases where no construction is occurring.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The Community Housing Improvement Program took issue with a bill that would fine building owners who fail to apply for work permits within six months of installing a sidewalk shed, arguing that it would lead to a flood of rushed permit applications. The group proposed, instead, that the Council change FISP to incentivize owners to replace their building façades, rather than paying for piecemeal repairs.

Everyone seems on board, generally, with allowing sheds to be different colors and upgrading lighting requirements. The administration, however, hired Arup US and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism to come up with six new designs for the sheds.

What we’re thinking about: Who will buy the office building at 135 West 50th Street? And how high will the bids go? Send a note to

A thing we’ve learned: U.S. Sen. John Fetterman has a nickname for his indicted colleague from New Jersey. Fetterman apparently calls Sen. Robert Menendez “Gold Bar Bob,” a reference to the gold bars investigators found in his closet, the New Yorker reports.  

Elsewhere in New York…

In the wake of Gov. Kathy Hochul indefinitely delaying congestion pricing, the Adams administration is cracking down on double-parking, Gothamist reports. “One of the biggest problems with congestion is double-parking,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference. “It’s a safety hazard.” It is unclear if the administration will hire more traffic enforcement officers as part of the effort.

Former President Trump can now speak publicly about witnesses and jurors related to his hush money criminal trial, the Associated Press reports. A Manhattan judge approved changes to Trump’s gag order, which still prevents him from speaking about some matters related to the trial ahead of his July 11 sentencing.

Today was primary day! Keep an eye out for post-election coverage of the races real estate was invested in.

Closing Time 

Residential: The priciest residential sale Tuesday was $5.5 million for a 2,727-square-foot condominium unit at 11 Hoyt Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Corcoran Sunshine had the listing.

Commercial: The largest commercial sale of the day was $42.8 million for 226 West 97th Street and 2568 Broadway on the Upper West Side. The adjoining apartment buildings have a combined 65 residential units.

New to the Market: The highest price for a residential property hitting the market was $32 million for a 7,226-square-foot townhouse at 21 Beekman Place in Midtown East. Les Meyers of Compass has the listing. — Matthew Elo

Recommended For You