Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the start of a new No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection program and the return of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection program on Friday.
The initiatives will allow small business owners and homeowners to obtain free inspections of the relevant structures, without risk of penalty, to determine if they comply with city safety regulations.
“Our small businesses are the core of our city,” said de Blasio. “That is why we want to work with them to help them keep their businesses safe, and instead of just giving them a fine or violation.”
In November 2018, there were 234 store signage-related complaints in Brooklyn, compared with 23 the same month the year before.
According to the de Blasio administration, rather than penalize small businesses and homeowners, these initiatives will help New Yorkers comply with the regulations and proactively maintain their properties, saving them time and money by fixing potential problems before they occur.
From July 31 to Sept. 15, the Department of Buildings (DOB) will accept business accessory sign inspection requests from small business owners. For the first time, DOB is offering to inspect business signage at no cost and without penalty.
As part of a moratorium from Feb. 9, 2019 until Feb. 9, 2021, the department will not issue violations for business signs that existed on or before Feb. 9, 2019, unless the sign is not eligible because it is an imminent threat to public health or safety.
“At a time when so many small businesses have already suffered devastating losses due to COVID, the last thing they need is a financial penalty incurred because of a sign violation,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D- Brighton Beach-Manhattan Beach-Midwood). “I commend this new inspection program for its business-friendly approach, one that offers business owners the chance to correct any deficiencies without having to pay a penalty that many of them can’t afford.”
“With everything our city has gone through these last several months, we want to make sure we are helping as much as possible rather than penalizing,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin.
From July 31 to Sept. 15, homeowners and property owners can also contact 311 to request a free DOB inspection of their decks, porches or retaining walls as part of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection initiatives.