The Department of City Planning (DCP) has published a rule that requires owners of almost all privately owned public spaces (POPS) new or existing to apply to DCP for review of their POPS signage. New POPS signage must provide certain specified information.

Does this rule apply to my POPS?

The rule applies to almost all POPS, including plazas, arcades, sidewalk widenings, and other indoor and outdoor spaces created under City laws (such as a variance or a floor area bonus for a plaza). However, the rule does not apply to waterfront public access areas.

When will I need to take action?

If you do not currently have POPS signage approved by DCP, stating that the space is open to the public and providing the hours of public access, you must apply for DCP design review of new signage by August 3, 2020.

Owners of POPS with previously approved signage, stating that the space is open to the public and providing the hours of public access, must apply for DCP design review by February 5, 2022.

The design review application must include the most recent POPS drawings approved by DCP and in effect (if any), a plan for a new compliant signage system, and a land use application form. A sample signage plan is available at DCP's website. Ninety (90) days from the date of DCP approval of the new signage system, the approved signage must be installed in the POPS, unless DCP approves an extension in connection with POPS construction or renovations.

What steps should I take now?

The most recently approved POPS drawings can be obtained from DCP. We recommend hiring a graphic designer or other consultant to prepare technical drawings for new compliant signs.

What information is required on new POPS signage?

POPS signage must include:

  • The name and contact information of the entity with oversight of complaints about the POPS;
  • A statement that the POPS is open to the public;
  • The hours that the POPS is open to the public;
  • The primary amenities required in the POPS;
  • A statement that complaints can be registered by calling 311; and
  • DCP's new public space logo.

For POPS established on or after October 1, 2017, the signage must include a site map displaying the boundaries of the privately owned public space(s) relative to other structures on the zoning lot and the adjacent streets or public ways.1 For POPS accessible to persons with disabilities, the signage must include an at least three-inch-square International Symbol of Access for persons with disabilities.

Other POPS News

A recently approved zoning text amendment allows moveable tables and chairs to be placed in arcades and certain open plazas without review by the DCP. These tables and chairs must be available to the public without restriction and must comply with certain placement requirements.