Former Mayor Koch signed EO 6 to establish the Community Assistance Unit (CAU). This unit liaises with community boards, civic groups, neighborhood associations, and public and private agencies in order to address and bring to the attention of the Mayor and other appropriate City officials issues and problems of concern to communities citywide. It is also charged with carrying forward mayoral initiatives through direct contact with communities.
Former Mayor Dinkins signed EO 14 which delegated CAU, acting through its Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), authorization to exercise all functions, powers, and duties regarding the issuance of street activity permits and assessment of fees for street festivals, parties, celebrations, fairs, and other events.
Former Mayor Dinkins reaffirmed EO 14 by signing EO 25, which further established the authority of CAU. It states that “a cornerstone of this administration is accessibility of government to our residents, responsiveness to suggestions and recommendations, and the encouragement of citizen participation in government.” Over the course of the next 15 years, SAPO remained within CAU.
The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) published Rethinking New York's Street Fairs”, a report which urged the city to make major changes to street fairs. One recommendations was that "vendors ought to be able to apply for street fair permits online, eliminating the need for entrepreneurs and business owners to waste hours dealing with the bureaucracy."
Former Mayor Bloomberg adopted CUF’s recommendation and signed EO 100, authorizing the formation of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM). CECM will advance their technology use by developing a website to facilitate event permitting. CECM will serve as a repository of information about all upcoming and ongoing events regardless of event permitting agency, assist in the planning and execution process, coordinate among affected city agencies, inform elected officials, community boards and citizens of events in their neighborhoods, and advise the Mayor in the coordination of policies, procedures and operations related to the permitting, review and coordination of events and permitted activities.
Former Mayor Bloomberg signed EO 105 to update the name of the Community Assistance Unit to the Community Affairs Unit and clarified the duties and responsibilities of CAU. All functions and duties relating to SAPO permitting shall be undertaken by CECM. All staff of SAPO shall be housed within CECM.
Former Mayor Bloomberg approved a request for CECM and NYPD to exercise discretion in temporarily denying permits for additional events that placed an excessive burden on police resources and diverted uniformed personnel from core crime fighting, public safety, and counterterrorism duties.
Former Mayor Bloomberg approved the extension of the 2007 moratorium on accepting new event applications for one year in the interests of protecting the City and its inhabitants.
One of the first initiatives of the newly formed CECM office was to compile a permitting guide to assist event producers in understanding the basics of hosting an event in NYC. Before creation of this document, there was no one place where all event permitting information was housed.
CECM continues to streamline and digitize event processing, permitting, and policies in New York City.
One major step towards this innovation was the creation of the Citywide Event Management System (CEMS) database. This agency specific set of custom computer applications support event management and facilitates the flow of information between primary and support permitting agencies.
CEMS consists of an intranet database that serves as a central hub for event permitting information, e-apply websites that allow individuals to apply and pay processing fees for permits on-line, as well as a repository for information that is transcribed to the public via the nyc.gov street closure map.
Prior to CEMS, permitting agencies maintained their own permitting systems where event data was not readily shared between City agencies and the public. Allowing for numerous conflicts to exist between permitting agencies. Also proper support permits were not consistently obtained.
Former Mayor Bloomberg signed EO 152 the Proclamation of a State of Emergency and Evacuation Order, due to Hurricane Irene. The EO included the “revocation of street activity and other related event permits, to protect life and property or bring the emergency situation under control”.
In 2011 CECM held a public hearing to propose amendments to street activity permit rules including reflecting the shift from CAU to CECM, include the new E-Apply system, updating the fees schedule to account for administrative and manpower costs, and simplify definitions and terms that are referenced within the rules to ensure applicants can understand and easily interpret SAPO rules.
Former Mayor Bloomberg and Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched NYC Street Closures, the City’s online mapping application for displaying street closure information across the five boroughs. The tool, available on NYC.gov, provides details about current and planned full street closures obstructing normal vehicular traffic due to road work, street fairs, block parties, special events or parades, and allows users to conduct searches based on date, time, and location. Created by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), CECM, the Department of Transportation (DOT), in conjunction with Former City Council Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Daniel Garodnick, NYC Street Closures leverages the innovative NYCityMap platform common across many city mapping applications, and complies with Local Law 32 of 2011, passed by the City Council and signed by Former Mayor Bloomberg in May.
Former Mayor Bloomberg signed EO 163 the Proclamation of a State of Emergency and Evacuation Order, due to Hurricane Sandy. The EO included the “revocation of street activity and other related event permits, to protect life and property or bring the emergency situation under control”. The aftermath of this historic weather event lead to the cancellation of several iconic NYC events; the Village Halloween Parade was cancelled for the first time since its inception and the NYC Marathon was cancelled for the first time in 42 years.
In 2013 due to neighborhoods that were overly saturated in events and lack of city personnel resources, SAPO amended its rules to temporarily deny permits for street activities and street fairs not held in 2012. These new events would place an excessive burden on police resources and divert uniformed personnel from core crime fighting, public safety and counter terrorism duties.
In 2016 CECM held a public hearing and implemented a rule change for events held on pedestrian plazas, which included a tiered four level designation system (Level A, B, C, or D), longer deadlines and fee changes for plazas depending on size, usage, and borough.
Implemented the workflow for entering SAPO event violations in the CEMS database which sends out violation notices to applicants.
A major CEMS overhaul was implemented which had advanced features to help facilitate better coordination between the permitting agency, applicants, and business partner agencies.
In 2018 CECM overhauled the permitting guide. This iteration of the permitting guide was truly comprehensive and included all agencies that could be involved in executing events in NYC. Rules were added and updated, and the overall look and layout of the guide was streamlined to be more cohesive. Going forward the guide is updated annually and available in both printed and digital versions.
Integrated CityPay payment gateway on all the online E-Apply portals to process permit application fees. CityPay is PCI compliance and provides greater security during transactions.
Former Mayor de Blasio signed EO 99 “to avoid the mass congregation of people in public places and to reduce the opportunity for the spread of COVID-19, any large gathering or event for which attendance is anticipated to be in excess of five hundred people shall be cancelled or postponed”. All gatherings or events for which attendance was anticipated to be fewer than five hundred people, was ordered to operate at no greater than fifty percent occupancy, and no greater than fifty percent of seating capacity. Furthermore, to promote social distancing, places where such events are held shall not close off any portion of the area to which the occupancy or seating capacity limit applies.
CECM launched a monthly external newsletter to disseminate information about upcoming and ongoing public events and act as a resource to the event community on overall event coordination, permitting, and management. The newsletter is issued monthly, mid-month. Newsletter Archives are listed on the Newsletter page along the with the sign-up to receive the newsletter.
Open Culture was added as a new SAPO permit type allowing for outdoor ticketed performances. Arts and cultural institutions, as well as entertainment venues, were offered the opportunity to secure a permit for socially distanced performances at almost 200 street locations throughout all five boroughs.
Implemented workflows for the Open Culture permit application process in the SAPO E-Apply.