Revocable Consents & Franchises
DOT grants permission to applicants to occupy or use space on, over or under the City streets and sidewalks, charging fees for these uses.
If you intend to install a structure on, under or over a City street or sidewalk, you must petition (apply) for a revocable consent from the City. This page gives an overview of the revocable consent review process. DOT grants revocable consents only for certain types of improvements.
The revocable consent approval process, including any necessary Public Design Commission or Landmarks Preservation Commission review of above-ground structures, generally takes between four and six months. The process is formally described in the Rules Relating to Revocable Consents (pdf). You may schedule an appointment with DOT to discuss the details of your petition. Please call 212-839-6550.
What is a Revocable Consent?
A revocable consent is the grant of a right to an individual or organization to construct and maintain certain structures on, over or under the inalienable property of the City (that is, the streets and sidewalks). Generally, revocable consents are granted for a term of ten years, at the end of which time they may be renewed. As the name implies, the City retains the right to revoke a revocable consent at any time.
Revocable consents are generally for the sole use and benefit of the applicant, who in most cases is required to own or lease the property to be benefited by the structure. The revocable consent cannot be sublet, assigned, or transferred without the prior written approval of DOT.
DOT only issues certain types of revocable consents. Revocable Consents for sidewalk cafes are granted by the Department of Consumer Affairs
There is an annual charge for all revocable consents. Upon request, DOT will provide you with an estimate of that charge before you begin your petition.
Petitioning for a Revocable Consent
To petition for a revocable consent, you must first submit several forms of documentation and pay fees. DOT and other agencies review these forms and then DOT holds a public hearing. If there are no objections, the revocable consent is usually granted. The application is sometimes referred to as a petition.
Check the DOT Events Calendar for upcoming public hearings on proposed revocable consents.
The revocable consent petition form (pdf) asks for basic information regarding the adjacent property, its owner or lessee, and the proposed structure. See below for forms for other revocable consent actions, such as assignment, modification or rescission
You also must submit any necessary supporting documentation, such as copies of certificates of incorporation or partnership, copies of deeds, owner's consent statements, and a plan certified by an architect or engineer
In most cases your petition must be accompanied by a plan drawn by a professional engineer or registered architect licensed by the State of New York. Plan requirements are spelled out in the Rules Relating to Revocable Consents, the plan review checklist and these sample plans (pdf)
Since multiple copies of the original petition and plan(s) are required, DOT recommends that applicants schedule a pre-submission conference with DOT staff to ensure that the application is in order.
Filing fees range from $100 to $750, depending on the type of proposed structure. A complete schedule of the filing fees for revocable consent applications appears in the Rules Relating to Revocable Consents (pdf).
Upon receiving a complete petition for a revocable consent, DOT immediately distributes it to the appropriate City agencies for their review. If an agency objects to a proposed revocable consent structure, changes to the plans may be required in order to rectify the cause of the objection. However, such objections are fairly unusual, and almost never result in the rejection of a petition.
The Department of City Planning may determine that a proposed revocable consent requires land use review pursuant to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). In that case, you will be required to complete any required additional paperwork and submit the petition for ULURP review, which in most cases takes approximately six months.
Most above-ground structures require the approval of the New York City Public Design Commission. Structures proposed within a designated New York City Historic District or adjacent to a designated New York City Landmark require the approval of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. We will provide you with guidance in how to seek these approvals when they are necessary.
DOT also checks to see if the applicant has any outstanding warrants, liens or unpaid taxes and that it is registered with the New York Secretary of State and licensed to do business in the State of New York.
After all necessary approvals are received, DOT must hold a public hearing on the terms and conditions of a proposed revocable consent as required by law. A notice of the hearing is published by DOT, at your expense, in one daily newspaper and one local area newspaper. The combined cost of these advertisements is usually under $250. Check the DOT events calendar for upcoming hearings
If no issues arise at the hearing or during the subsequent 10-day comment period, we prepare a revocable consent agreement and send it to you for signature. You should return the signed and sealed agreement (original and copies), with all required back-up documentation, within two weeks. The agreement is then executed by DOT and is subject to the additional approval of the Mayor and registration with the New York City Comptroller.
Paying for a Revocable Consent Online
Starting July 1, 2011, DOT will accept electronic payments for annual revocable consent fees. To take advantage of the secure, paperless payment service, you must have your account number, which is listed on your invoice. If you don't have your invoice, please contact DOT (212-839-6550 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
To set up the service you will need your bank's routing number and your account number.
Pay your revocable consent fee online.
More Forms Relating to Revocable Consents
Revocable consents can be modified, transferred to other parties, or ended.
- Petition for a new Revocable Consent
- Petition for Renewal of Revocable Consent
- Petition for Modification of Revocable Consent
- Petition for Assignment of Revocable Consent
- Petition for Rescission of Revocable Consent
- Notification of intent to deactivate a structure for which a Revocable Consent has been granted
Private Improvements Eligible for Revocable Consents
- electrical sockets
- fenced or walled-in area not used for planting or parking; including a fenced or walled-in area containing a drainage basin
- guard booths
- guard rails
- information signs or kiosks
- stoops and any other improvements adjacent to a building which is located in a historic district or which is an individual landmark where construction of such stoop or other improvement has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission
- overhead building projections in excess of that allowed by the Building Code
- cables (other than underground cable, wire or optical fiber and associated electronics under the jurisdiction of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication)
- parking lots for private use
- planted areas, including any surrounding fence or wall
- posts, poles or bollards not otherwise governed by permit procedures contained in Title 19 of the Administrative Code
- railroad tracks for private use
- ramps intended to provide access to people with disabilities
- retaining walls
- sidewalk plaques or logos
- signs or plaques on City-owned street lamps or other City-owned structures
- stoops, steps, ramps, vestibules or other entrance details extending beyond limits set in Articles 8 and 9 of Title 27 of the Administrative Code
- street lamp or fixture
- vaults or underground improvements not otherwise governed by license procedures contained in Section 19-117 of Title 19 of the Administrative Code
- public service corporation facilities ancillary to, but not within, a franchise granted prior to July 1, 1990
- enclosures for trash receptacle adjoining a building, for private use
- litter receptacles for public use affixed to the sidewalk
A franchise is a contract between a company and the City. The company provides a public service. Examples are certain private bus routes and conduits for gas and electric utilities. Franchises generally require legislative approval and are granted for a limited term of years following a public bidding process.
A concession is an agreement that allows a company to do business on City property. Examples include food courts on public plazas. Concessions are granted for a fixed number of years following a public bidding process. If you are interested in being on the DOT's concession solicitation list, please use this form to sign up (pdf).