Renovations: Public Right-of-Way Encroachments

The following is a list of useful terms to use when researching additional Public Right-of-Way Encroachments information on each of the topics discussed:

Architectural Details

A wide range of façade elements such as cornices, moldings, façade sculpture, which as part of older buildings could project into the public right-of-way


A space below grade adjacent to a building open to the outer air and enclosed by walls


Any encroachment allowed by a governing agency, such as the DOB or DOT, without any need for a special permit or variance.  For example, the as-of-right encroachment of a building’s architectural details cannot project more than three inches into the public right of way, per the Building Code

Attached Lighting

Lighting fixtures and devices attached to the building façade


An architectural projection that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is wholly supported by the building to which it is attached; an awning is comprised of a lightweight frame structure over which a covering is attached


An above grade extension enclosed by a wall or balustrade on the outside of a building, with access from an occupied space


A basement is a story with at least one-half of its height (measured from floor to ceiling) above curb level, per the Building Code


A permanent structure or architectural projection of rigid construction over which a covering is attached that provides weather protection, identity or decoration, which shall be structurally independent or supported by attachment to a building on one end and by not fewer than one stanchion at the outer end


A cellar is a space with more than one-half its height (measured from floor to ceiling) below curb level, per the Building Code

Curb Line

The line coincident with the face of the street curb adjacent to the roadway


Any physical attribute, as identified below, pertaining to a building or property that projects into the public right-of-way


The exterior envelope of a building, including the street wall; façades are composed of subsidiary elements such as windows, doors, cornices, and balconies, etc., some façade elements could be considered encroachments, depending on their relationship to the public right of way

FDNY Fire Hose Connections

An exterior connection through which the Fire Department can pump supplemental water into the standpipe system, sprinkler, or other system furnishing additional water to supplement the existing water supplies


A pole used for flying a flag or banner, which is mounted on the façade of the building and projects into the public right-of-way

Flood Shields

Flood shields are walls, permanent or temporary, installed as part of a dry flood proofing system in buildings located in Special Flood hazard Areas regulated by FEMA


A permanent roofed structure attached to and supported by the building and that projects into the public right -of-way

Platform Lifts

A type of elevator that raises or lowers a person over a small vertical distance, typically used for accessibility purposes

Projecting Sign

The line coincident with the face of the street curb adjacent to the roadway A sign other than a wall sign, which projects from and is supported by a wall of a building or structure

Property Line

Property lines describe the legal boundary, or metes and bounds, of a parcel of land

Public Right of Way

The public street space beyond the private property line, including the roadway sidewalk


A walking surface that has a slope steeper than 5-percent, typically used for accessibility purposes on buildings erected prior to December 6, 1969

Revocable Consent

Revocable Consent, by New York City Charter, Chapter 14 §362(d), shall mean a grant of a right, revocable at any time by New York City, for allowable private use or improvements on, over and under New York City’s Streets and Sidewalks; the NYC Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over revocable consent


Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is the area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year; the SFHA is outlined in FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), which illustrate the extent of flood hazards in a community and the different flood risk zones


A thoroughfare or public way, including sidewalks and roadways, dedicated or devoted to public use by legal mapping or other lawful means

Street Line

The lot line fronting a street, which separates the street from other non-street land

Street Wall

An exterior wall or façade of a building located at the street line

Sidewalk Vaults

Any space below the surface of a sidewalk and/or street, which is covered over, except those openings that are used exclusively as places for descending, by means of steps, to the cellar or basement of any building

Storm Enclosures

Temporary and seasonal vestibules, which are allowed as supplementary entrances to buildings

Sun Control and Shading Devices  

Louvers, screens attached to the façade which provide light and shade control

Wall Signs

Any sign attached to or erected against and parallel to the wall of a building or structure, projecting no more than 15 inches from the face of the wall.

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  1. Building Systems Installation & Modifications

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