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Is a Permit Required for Sidewalk Repairs in New York City?


Sidewalks are a crucial part of New York’s transportation infrastructure. Millions of pedestrians use these sidewalks every day to reach their destination safely. The city is filled with over 12 million miles of sidewalks, signifying their pivotal role in public transportation. However, maintaining such a vast network of sidewalks is not an easy task. These sidewalks are exposed to extreme pedestrian load daily, causing wear and tear and frequent damage to the sidewalks.

When it comes to sidewalk repairs, the most confusing query is “Who is responsible for the repair, the state government or the property owners?” The response could vary according to the state in which you reside. In New York, however, property owners are in charge of keeping the sidewalks in good condition. All of the sidewalks that are close to their property must be repaired by them.

Before undertaking any sidewalk repair project, it is necessary to obtain the required permits from DOT. This process allows them to be aware of construction zones and plan accordingly. This can help minimize disruptions to traffic and pedestrians and allows them to set up detours or signage if necessary

Permits For Sidewalk Repair

Prior to beginning any kind of replacement or repair work, obtaining the necessary permit is crucial. If this isn’t done, there may be DOT fines, penalties, or in extreme circumstances, legal issues for the owner. The DOT has no control over the work being done in the absence of a permit. This implies that there’s a possibility the repairs won’t adhere to ADA accessibility guidelines or safety regulations. You may have to pay to have the repairs redone later if they aren’t up to code.

However, it is not the owner’s responsibility to apply for the permits. Generally, requesting and receiving all required licenses falls under the purview of the private contractor employed for the project.

Who Applies for the Permit

The contractor that you’ve hired for the job is responsible for applying  and obtaining all the necessary work-related permits if he is a DOT licensed contractor. The cost of the permit is included in the estimates that the contractor provides you. This estimate also covers the admin cost and the cost of the inspector visit after the work is concluded.

However, hiring a contractor for the job is not mandatory. The DOT NYC allows private homeowners to apply for the permit directly. There’s a specific procedure for homeowner applications, which typically involves mailing in a completed application form along with a notarized affidavit of ownership and the permit fee

Permit Timeline

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, definitive timeframe for obtaining a standard DOT sidewalk construction permit in NYC. The processing time can vary depending on several factors. While there’s no guaranteed timeframe, most sources estimate a window of 2-4 weeks for processing a standard DOT sidewalk construction permit application.

The timeline for obtaining permits can be even longer if your property is located in a landmark district. The time period can extend from several weeks or even months to get the required approval from LPC. This extended time may be due to

  • LPC workload
  • Application complexity
  • Public Hearings


Obtaining DOT is a must before every sidewalk repair and replacement job as it legalizes the whole repair process and protects the owner from DOT fines and penalties. On the contrary, skipping these permits can lead to non-compliant repairs that can lead to fines and penalties.

The good news is that homeowners have the option to apply for permits themselves.  However, the processing timeline can vary depending on application completeness, project complexity, and workload at the DOT.  For repairs in landmark districts, additional permits and a lengthier review process are required by the LPC.

Although getting a permit may seem like an extra step, it guarantees that your repairs are done appropriately, shields you from potential issues, and maintains the safety of your walkways for everyone. Recall that you can ultimately save time and money by being a little more patient and planned in advance.

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