Press Releases

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2020

Contacts:
Melissa Grace, Joe Marvilli – press@planning.nyc.gov (212) 720-3471

Statement from Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Order suspending New York City’s land use decision making processes:

“This Executive Order means that hundreds of gracious open spaces that dot our busy commercial districts and our waterfront are now available to help New Yorkers physically distance as we get back to work. The order also means that our local eating, drinking and retail establishments can temporarily expand into these spaces – all of which were created for the public’s enjoyment by our zoning rules,” Director Lago said.

Provisions for the Mayor’s Executive Order on Privately Owned Public Spaces – or POPS:

POPS are public spaces that are owned and maintained by private property owners pursuant to various zoning regulations. First introduced in the 1960s, the nearly 600 POPS that exist today provide opportunities to sit, relax, people watch, eat, meet others – in other words, to partake and enjoy in urban life. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these spaces are aimed at ensuring that the busiest areas of New York City offer indoor and outdoor atriums, plazas and walkways to the public.

Temporary uses that will be allowed within POPS via the Mayor’s Executive Order include dining areas, health screening stations, bikeshare docks, kiosks, retail stands and space for New Yorkers to line up safely to enter adjacent buildings.

An interactive map of all POPS is available.

In order to add any of the temporary uses outlined by the Executive Order, POPS owners must submit a description and site plan that details their changes to POPSCOVID_DL@planning.nyc.gov.

Outdoor and open-air POPS must remain open to the public during their approved hours of access. While indoor POPS can be closed, access to subway stations, through-block connections and sole connection to a lawfully operating business must be maintained. Outdoor POPS will be able to separate or close off some seating to promote distancing.
Once the Executive Order is lifted, all uses that it temporarily allowed must be removed from the POPS.

Provisions for the Mayor’s Executive Order on Waterfront Public Access Areas – or WPAAs:

WPAAs offer public open space where New Yorkers can connect with and enjoy their shoreline.  First introduced through the 1993 waterfront zoning text, these publicly accessible spaces are required by zoning for waterfront sites. The public areas must be improved with landscaping and trees, seating and other amenities. WPAAs can also include walkways, green spaces, or other improved spaces for public use.

Temporary uses that will be allowed within the City’s nearly 40 WPAAs via the Mayor’s Executive Order include outdoor dining areas, retail stands, and shade structures.

An interactive map of WPAAs is available.

In order to add any of the temporary uses outlined by the Executive Order, business owners using WPAAs should send a basic site plan and description of the proposed changes to WPAA@planning.nyc.gov.

Once the Executive Order is lifted, all uses and modifications that it temporarily allowed must be removed from WPAAs.