LPC Streamlines Sidewalk Cafes For Historic District Restaurants In Dining Out NYC

May 9, 2024

On May 7, 2024, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to approve amendments to LPC rules.

The rules codify the Commission’s current regulatory review procedure for movable aspects of sidewalk cafes and expand the approach to include roadway cafes. LPC currently does not regulate temporary, movable aspects of sidewalk cafes in historic districts.

Under the newly approved rules, restaurant owners in historic districts who wish to build sidewalk and roadway cafe installations will not be required to apply for LPC permits as long as their proposed designs meet the city’s Dining Out NYC program guidelines and do not attach to a designated building or historic pavement.

LPC partnered with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) during the development of the Dining Out NYC program to ensure the approved guidelines aligned with LPC’s existing approach to sidewalk cafes, supporting small businesses based in historic districts while affirming that the sidewalk and roadway cafe installations would not detract from the significant historic features of the landmark buildings and designated streetscapes.

“We do not have to choose between the historic character of a neighborhood and activating the streets and small businesses within a local community,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “The Landmarks Preservation Commission and Department of Transportation’s efforts will ensure dining on our sidewalks and roadways support vibrant streets, small business, and those enjoying outdoor dining in our historic districts across the city.”

“Our city’s amazing restaurants have played a critical role in New York City’s economic comeback, and the new Dining Out NYC guidelines developed in partnership with DOT and LPC establish criteria that ensure these sidewalk and roadway cafes will enliven our streets and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our city’s historic districts,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll. “Today’s vote reflects the Commission’s steadfast commitment to the economic success of our city’s historic districts, and our continued support for small business owners in landmark buildings who are looking to grow their businesses as part of the Dining Out NYC program.”

“Outdoor dining supports small businesses while also reimagining and breathing new life into our streets,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “LPC’s new Dining Out NYC guidelines make it as seamless as possible for businesses owners in landmark buildings to participate in this program bringing outdoor dining to all corners of New York City.”

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“… restaurants will be able to participate without additional red tape …”

“The Adams Administration’s priority is for as many restaurants as possible to participate in Dining Out NYC, including those located in historic districts and individual landmarks,” said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. “Thanks to LPC’s new guidelines and close partnership with DOT, restaurants will be able to participate without additional red tape, and our streets and sidewalks will become more vibrant in the process.”

A public hearing at which the public could testify on the proposed amendments to LPC rules regarding sidewalk and roadway cafes was held on April 16, 2024.  The amendments to LPC rules will go into effect 30 days after they are published in The City Record.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than more than 37,900 buildings and sites, including 1,460 individual landmarks, 121 interior landmarks, 12 scenic landmarks, and 156 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/landmarks 

Photo credit: NYC.gov.

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