Feb. 12, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The New York City Council voted unanimously Thursday to pass Council Member Robert Holden’s bill that prevents the city from slapping fines on small business owners for signage violations.
The bill extends an existing two-year moratorium on penalties and fines related to businesses’ outdoor signage, which had recently expired.
Prior to the moratorium, small businesses could be hit with fines of up to $20,000 for sign and awning violations.
Holden’s bill extends the moratorium another two years.
It also waives 100 percent of the permit fees business owners must pay to install a sign. The previous legislation had waived 75 percent of the permit fees.
The legislation also extends the temporary Department of Buildings signage assistance program for two additional years. The program helps business owners go through the process of legalizing their signs.
Holden said his bill will prevent many small business owners from being hit with a big expense at a time when they are trying to survive.
“Everyone is talking a lot about helping our small businesses these days, but this bill will actually help them in a real, quantifiable way that helps them save some money,” he said. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy, but they’ve been hemorrhaging throughout this pandemic.”
Holden added that the city must cut out all the unnecessary fees and fines that hurt mom-and-pop shops.
“If the city doesn’t stop nickel-and-diming our small businesses and help them in meaningful ways, like this bill does, the only sign we’ll see on them is ‘out of business,’” he said.