Legislation will extend hours of operation, formalize field services, and coordinate a trap, neuter and return program for feral cats
Council will vote to create Chinatown Business Improvement District and to preserve historic character of Boreum Hill in Brooklyn
New York, NY- At today’s Stated meeting, the City Council will vote on a piece of legislation to enhance services for animals in the City’s shelter system. The proposed legislation will expand hours of operation at receiving centers in boroughs without full-service shelters. After this legislation becomes law, the centers will be open twelve hours a day, seven days a week – up from their current operating hours of eight hours a day, one to two times a week. Furthermore, at least one full-service shelter would be open twenty four hours a day. Additionally, the legislation would formalize the Department of Health’s “field services” program, ensuring that lost, stray, homeless and injured animals from all five boroughs may be picked up and brought to shelters twelve hours a day, seven days a week. The bill also eliminates requirements for full-service shelters in the Bronx and Queens.
The Council will also vote to approve the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in Chinatown. The BID will greatly enhance and retain businesses in Chinatown by supplying additional sanitation services within the BID’s boundaries.
Finally, the Council will vote on a bill to approve the rezoning of an approximately 31-block area in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.
UPGRADING SERVICES FOR SHELTER ANIMALS
In addition to the increased services for animals in City shelters, the legislation helps to safely and humanely manage stray cats on city streets and would require the Department of Health (DOHMH) to publicize rules pertaining to the registration of individuals or groups doing trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for feral cats. Additionally, individual cat owners would be required to ensure their cats who roam outside are sterilized or face civil fines.
The legislation would also mandate that, in addition to current reporting requirements, DOHMH would annually report to the Council and the Mayor the following:
• The total number of animals per borough picked up by field services during regular business hours and delivered to shelters and receiving facilities
• The total number of animals per borough picked up by field services during off hours and delivered to shelters and receiving facilities
• The total number of animals accepted into and transferred from full service shelters to each receiving facility
• The staffing levels at each full service shelter and receiving facility.
In conjunction with the proposed animal shelter legislation, the City will increase funding for Animal Care and Control (AC&C), the non-profit entity who runs the City’s animal shelters, by nearly $10 million dollars over the next three years. This year, an additional $1 million will be invested, and by July 2014, the City’s annual budget for the shelters will exceed $12 million, 77 percent above current funding. Furthermore, the DOHMH has agreed to expand the Board of AC&C by two public members.
“The Council, along with the Mayor’s Office, DOHMH, the ASPCA, the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals, and NYCLASS have been working for the last nine months on how to best address New York City’s companion animal issues and improve conditions in our shelters,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “The successes we’ve had in NYC are a result of this public-private partnership and, in order to enrich this partnership, we need to enhance Animal Care & Control. This bill paves the way for a significant increase in public funding for the City’s animal shelters, which will greatly expand and improve care for homeless animals. We need to increase private funding for animal shelters as well. That’s why I’m pleased that the Health Department has agreed to expand the board of AC&C by two public members with the goal of appointing individuals who not only have a passion for animals but the ability to translate that passion into private donations to AC&C.”
“This legislation will help more cats and dogs find loving homes in our city. It’s a major step in providing stray animals with the care they deserve,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin.
“This legislation will increase the number of animals adopted by New Yorkers and improve shelter conditions for the thousands of animals that currently pass through the New York City animal shelter system,” said Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo.
CHINATOWN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRIC (BID)
The Council will vote today to approve the creation of the Chinatown Business Improvement District (BID). The BID designates $1 million of its $1.3 million first year budget to supplemental sanitation services. The remaining funds will be reserved for holiday lighting, maintenance of lampposts and street furniture, and other miscellaneous costs.
Through a cooperative effort with Small Business Services and many local property owners, the Council determined that increased garbage collection prior to 8 AM was a community priority. Chinatown has approximately 150,000 residents and serves many of the 600,000 ethnic Chinese living in New York City. Within the Chinatown BID, there are approximately 1,400 street-level businesses and 1,891 different property owners.
“Today I am happy to cast my vote in favor of the Chinatown BID,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “This effort is a long time coming. I want to thank all the supporters, organizers, and community members who have persevered and never stopped fighting for this much-needed BID for Chinatown. I am 100 percent confident that the BID will improve the business environment in Chinatown, help bring new visitors to our community, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. I want to thank Speaker Quinn for her support on this important project as well as Council member Recchia for his guidance as Chair of the Finance Committee. I also want to thank my fellow Council Members for listening and responding to the needs of the Chinatown community. I know that with a BID in place, the future for Chinatown is bright.”
BOERUM HILL REZONING
The Council voted today to approve the rezoning of an approximately 31-block area in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The rezoning will preserve the low height, historic character of Boerum Hill. Current zoning permits construction of tower apartment buildings that result in out of context buildings in the neighborhood. Areas included in the rezoning are all or part of the blocks bounded by Atlantic Avenue to the north, 4th Avenue to the east, Warren and Wyckoff streets to the south, and Court Street to the west.
The rezoning will also refine commercial overlays on many streets to ensure only shops that serve local retail needs are set up. Commercial overlays are designated areas in residential districts that allow small businesses. Additionally, this action will protect against the intrusion of commercial uses onto residential side streets.
“I am thrilled the Council voted today to approve the Boerum Hill rezoning, which will place a much needed contextual zoning framework on the wonderful historic neighborhood of Boerum Hill,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I would like to thank the Boerum Hill Association, especially Howard Kolins and Dwight Smith, the Brooklyn office of City Planning, and the Boerum Hill community for supporting and advancing this rezoning and for maintaining the historic character of their neighborhood.”