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Transportation & Environment

2018 Street Fair and Block Party Applications

WHEREAS, The Borough of Manhattan holds approximately 190 street fairs each year; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five hosts approximately 30% of the borough's street fairs, a disproportionate number of events; and

WHEREAS, CB5 is comprised of several distinct neighborhoods, each marked by unique characteristics and possessing an individual identity; and

WHEREAS, Several of these communities host a disproportionate number of street fairs each year, with the Times Square area serving as the prime example with 75% of CB5's street fairs; and

WHEREAS, The Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) requires that a Street Fair community sponsor be "A community-based, documented not-for-profit organization, corporation or the like that has an indigenous relationship to the specific street or geographical community where the Street event is proposed;" and

WHEREAS, 37 "community sponsors" submitted applications to renew permits for street fairs in CB5 for the 2018 calendar year, down from 42 in 2017; and

WHEREAS, No new street fair applications were presented proposing new events not previously held in CB5; and

WHEREAS, In recent previous years some community sponsors have had at best only tangential connections to the immediately surrounding area playing host to the sponsored event; and

WHEREAS, In recent years some blocks have been burdened with multiple street fairs in the same year; and

WHEREAS, Current SAPO regulations impose no limits on the number of street fairs permitted on a particular block; and

WHEREAS, The Times Square Alliance again expressed serious concerns regarding the existing condition, specifically that some neighborhoods and blocks are disproportionately affected by street fairs and that many street fairs have no connection to the surrounding community; and

WHEREAS, Over the years CB5 has worked with event sponsors to improve the street fair situation; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has consistently advocated for SAPO to implement a system requiring street fairs be located appropriately, within communities related to the sponsor; and

WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that street fairs are meant to benefit the community as well as the non-profit sponsor; and

WHEREAS, The Times Square neighborhood within CB5 is busier on weekends than weekdays, making weekend street fairs burdensome; and

WHEREAS, SAPO's rules specifically call for community sponsors to have an "indigenous relationship to the specific street or geographical community district;" and

WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes it is in the interest of the district as a whole to strictly enforce this relationship going forward; and

WHEREAS, CB5 also recognizes the importance of ensuring individual blocks are not overly-burdened with more than 3 street events each year going forward; and

WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that it would be unfair to impose strict guidelines on the applicants without sufficient notice, community input, or properly collated and analyzed statistics, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five approves the street fair applications for the calendar year 2018; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five may require all future community sponsors seeking a permit or a renewal of a permit for a street fair within the borders of Community Board Five to provide detailed information showing an indigenous relationship to the specifically proposed street fair location or CB5 reserves the option to recommend denial of the application if such a location is not utilized; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five  reserves the option to recommend denial of applications if a block will be burdened by more than three events in a calendar year and alternate locations cannot be utilized; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges SAPO to work with CB5, the TSA, and other stakeholders to establish reasonable guidelines for addressing Street Fairs for 2019 and afterward.

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