The New York City Charter requires that each Borough President maintain a topographical bureau and borough engineer The primary responsibility of the Brooklyn Topographical Bureau is to maintain the Borough Map and to furnish copies of the Map and related data to City agencies and the general public.
Specific tasks include preparing changes to the Map for street improvements; assigning address numbers to new buildings assigning new and/or additional addresses to existing buildings; verifying block, lot and address information for existing buildings; maintaining a system of benchmarks and monuments that are required to survey grade and elevation conditions; researching the history of Brooklyn’s streets and sidewalks; and responding to engineering matters related to public improvement projects or construction matters.
Breakdowns of some of these tasks are as follows:
The Topographical Bureau reviews all City Planning Commission ULURP (Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure)
mappings. Whenever an alteration to the city map is made, our office reviews the map change to make sure that the map conforms to the standards set by our office.
The Topographical Bureau has jurisdiction of the assignment, verification and enforcement of all addresses within the borough. Applicants can apply for new or additional addresses, or they can come in to verify their address. Most applicants are professional engineers or architects working on behalf of a property owner who is having work done on their property and need to receive a new address or verify the address to their property. Addresses are assigned based on entrance location, then sequentially, odd or even. Addresses assigned should be displayed prominently on the street entrance of the structure. Vanity addresses (addresses that do not conform to the regular addressing system established) may also be assigned as long as they do not conflict with the surrounding area both in location and addressing.
SURVEYOR’S BENCHMARKS AND MONUMENTS
The Topographical Bureau provides surveyors with Benchmarks and Monuments in order to help them accurately survey a person’s property. This information provides both horizontal and vertical control, which allows the surveyor to find the city’s property line in relation to the private owner’s property line.
In order to receive street status information, in writing, the following must be done:
Write a letter addressed to:Mr. Alvin Goodman, PE, Chief Engineer Topographical Bureau Brooklyn Borough President’s Office 209 Joralemon Street, Rm. 340 Brooklyn, NY 11201
Indicate all street(s) and cross street(s) of requested location(s) of which you need the status information.
Reason for street status information must be indicated in letter.
Contact information should be provided (name, phone number, email, etc.)
There is a fee of $250 per street. (eg. Avenue X, between Street A and Street B = $250. Avenue X, between Street A and Street B and Street B to Street C = $500.)
We only accept money orders, bank certified checks and credit/debit cards. Money orders and certified checks are to be made out to the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.
Letters will be accepted without a fee; however, a staff person will contact you regarding the fee and how much is owed. Letters will not be completed unless the fee is paid.
Monday-Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The department is closed for lunch from 11:45 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Address:Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Topographical Bureau 209 Joralemon Street – Room 340 Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone number: (718) 802-3816
Fax number: (718) 802-3735
Brooklyn Borough Hall Topography Staff emails:
Where can I find a survey of my property?
It is not mandatory for surveyors to file surveys with any city agency. If you need a copy of your survey and you did not have one when you bought your property, then most likely you will have to have a new survey done.
Where can I find zoning information?
Zoning information is available at the Department of City Planning. The borough office is located at 16 Court Street – 7th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. You may call (718) 780-8280, or you can visit the DOCP website or here for zoning map information.
How do I get a copy of a Tax Map?
Tax maps are records maintained by the Department of Finance (DOF). You may obtain a copy of a tax map here.
Is my street a public street or a private street?
The Topographical Bureau maintains the records of street status, which is whether the city has ownership of a street to be used for street purposes, how the city obtained ownership of a street, and whether a street is legally mapped or unmapped. If the street in question is mapped and titled to the city, then it is a public street. If it is unmapped and not titled to the city, then it may be a private street. In order to properly determine if a street that is unmapped and not titled to the city is private or not, a title search needs to be done by a private title company.
What is a Sanborn Atlas?
The Sanborn Atlas, which is updated by a private company, shows a footprint of a building, what the structure is made out of, street names, addresses and various other pieces of information regarding the structure and the street.
How do I obtain a copy of a Sanborn Atlas?
We do not give out copies of the Sanborn Atlas; however, we do give out copies of the 1929 Belcher Hyde Atlas which shows information similar to a Sanborn Atlas.
What do I need to apply for a house number?
If you are doing work at the Department of Buildings (DOB), then you need to provide the Topo Bureau with DOB’s PW1 and PD1 forms, fill out Topo’s form when you arrive and provide the fee of $100 per entrance, per lot. We accept credit/debit cards, money orders and bank certified checks. Money orders and bank certified checks are made out to the “Brooklyn Borough President’s Office”.
What if I am not doing work but want to verify my address anyway?
If you are not doing work on your property, then the owner of the property or the architect/engineer or their representative will provide us a copy of the deed and the $100 fee, payable via credit/debit cards, money order or bank certified check.
What if I need an additional address for my property?
Only the owner of the property can request an additional address. The owner must provide a copy of the deed, pictures of the structure, new entrance in question and the abutting properties. The fee is $100 fee per entrance, payable via credit/debit cards, money order or bank certified check.
What do I do if the Post Office says my address is not in their system?
If the Post Office indicates that your address is not in their system, you should come into our office and have your address verified.
What do I do if I receive a violation in error?
If you receive a violation in error because it is not your address or does not pertain to your structure (elevator/boiler), then a verification letter has to be prepared by our office. A verification letter indicates the official addresses associated with a lot and may reassign addresses accordingly. To obtain a verification letter, you must submit a letter to the Borough President’s Office indicating the situation, along with a copy of your deed, pictures of your property and the abutting properties and block, if necessary, and the fee of $100, payable via credit/debit cards, money order or bank certified check.
What is a Vanity Address?
A Vanity address is an address that does not conform to the existing street numbering system. It is typically a unique address related to the name of the project in question, location of said project or historical background of a structure or area. Some examples of locations where vanity addresses have been assigned are City Point and Grand Army Plaza. The fee for a Vanity address is $5,500, payable via credit/debit cards, money order or bank certified check.
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
p: (718) 802 3700 | f: (718) 802 3778