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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the Department of Buildings (DOB) filing process?
  2. Can my architect/engineer meet with the plan examiner prior to review?
  3. How much do NYCBA services cost?
  4. How long does the sidewalk café process take? Can you accelerate it?
  5. Do I have to connect a hand-washing sink to a grease trap?
  6. Are the inspectors going to issue violations during a site visit?
  7. I want to prepare food in my basement (or offsite) and bring it to my restaurant, is that allowed? Do I need special permission from the Department of Health (DOH)?
  8. I have an existing restaurant that I plan on either renovating or building an extension to; do I need to apply for a Department of Health (DOH) permit?
  9. What is the fee for a canopy permit?
  10. When do I need Landmarks Preservation Commission approval?

  1. How much do NYCBA services cost?
    There is no cost associated with NYCBA services. NYCBA is an initiative of the Mayor's office to streamline and accelerate the process of opening up new food and beverage establishments.

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  1. What is the filing process for construction plans?
    After meeting with a New York City Business Acceleration client manager and learning about all services, an applicant may proceed with the DOB filing process (in PDF).

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  1. Can my Architect (RA)/Engineer (PE) meet with the plan examiner prior to review?
    If you have any questions regarding your plans, please speak with your registered architect or professional engineer. NBAT plan examiners will be available to discuss the building and zoning codes with your RA or PE if objections have been issued.

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  1. How long does the sidewalk café process take?
    Can you accelerate it? Once you file your application and it is approved, the total the total process time can take between 110 to 140 days.  To file an application please visit the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

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  1. Do I need a grease trap and does it have to connect a hand-washing sink to a grease trap?
    Yes, you need a grease trap.  They are important because it “traps” most grease so it does not infiltrate the City’s water system.  No, it does not need to be connected to a hand-wash sink; however it is not a violation if you do connect it. Just make sure that you consider the size/volume of that sink when calculating grease trap size. The Department of Environment Protection provides a grease interceptor size chart that will help determine the appropriate size for your business.

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  1. What is a Site Visit?

A site visit is a courtesy provided by NBAT that allows for the business owner to identify and address any issues to ensure passage of the final inspections the first time. 

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  1. Are the inspectors going to issue violations during a site visit?
    No, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) inspectors will not issue any violations during the site visit. The inspectors will simply coach you though whatever steps you may need to take to ensure that your business is ready to pass the inspections.

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  1. I want to prepare food in my basement (or offsite) and bring it to my restaurant, is that allowed? Do I need special permission from the Department of Health (DOH)?
    All parts of operations are encouraged to stay within an establishment. If the business owner has storage or food prepared outside of the facility, the business owner needs to file a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) plan (in PDF) stating how your procedures work, with the Department of Health.  There are no fees associated with this document.   

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  1. I have an existing restaurant that I plan on either renovating or building an extension to; do I need to apply for a Department of Health (DOH) permit?
    No, you can still operate, as long as you don't change the owner's name or corporation name.

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  1. When do I need Landmarks Preservation Commission approval?
    The NYC Landmarks Commission must approve in advance any restoration, alteration, reconstruction, demolition, or new construction affecting any designated property, including buildings in historic districts. You need Landmarks Commission approval before you begin work on the exterior, if your proposed project requires a permit from the Department of Buildings (DOB). Landmarks Commission approval is also required for any project that will affect the exterior appearance of a designated building, even if a Department of Buildings permit is not needed for the proposed work.

    Landmarks Commission approval is required for changes to the interior of the building only in the following situations:
  • When a permit from the Department of Buildings is required for the work
  • When the changes will affect the exterior of the building
  • When the building's interior has been designated an interior landmark

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