Council will also vote on modified plan for East New York Rezoning

City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on legislation making defibrillators available to youth baseball teams and requiring defibrillators at games and practices. The Council will also vote on a modified rezoning plan for East New York. Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation to better provide social services throughout the City. Next, the Council will vote on legislation to amend and update the Displaced Building Service Workers Law. The Council will additionally vote on two bills to extend the J-51 tax abatement program. Finally, the Council will vote on legislation to modify building permit fees.

Defibrillators at Youth Baseball Fields

Introduction 902-A, sponsored by Council Members Steven Matteo and Corey Johnson, would require the City to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to youth baseball leagues playing on City-owned land at no cost. It would also require the City to provide training in the use of the AEDs at no cost to coaches or umpires. AEDs can be a life-saving tool when someone suffers a cardiac arrest—the leading cause of death in young athletes. Blunt impacts to the chest are a leading cause of cardiac arrest among young people, which can occur during baseball when hit by a pitch in the chest. Under the legislation, these leagues would be required to bring an AED to every game and practice, and to make efforts to ensure a trained coach or umpire is also present.

This bill would take effect on January 1, 2017.

“It is simple: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the number one cause of death in this country, and among the leading cause of death in young athletes. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a person’s best chance of surviving a SCA. This legislation will dramatically expand access to AEDs, along with proper training, for thousands of little league teams, free of charge. This is another significant step in our efforts to make more of these lifesaving devices available to more New Yorkers. I want to thank my co-sponsor Health Committee Chairman Corey Johnson, along with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, my Council colleagues and the administration for all of their support and assistance in helping to bring this important legislation to a vote,” said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.

“The simple fact is that AEDs save lives,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “We have the opportunity to prevent needless deaths‎, but we must take action to expand the availability of these devices. I want to thank my colleague Council Member Steven Matteo for stepping up to the plate and leading on this issue,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

East New York Rezoning

The Council will vote on a modified rezoning plan for East New York. This modified plan was developed through extensive collaboration between the City Council, the Administration, local leaders, and East New York residents. The plan will provide significant increases to affordable housing commitments, including the first ever application of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, and over a quarter billion dollars in capital improvements. These improvements will include upgrades to parks and community facilities, schools, infrastructure, and economic development.

Highlights of the East New York Rezoning Plan include:

• Generating 1,300 units of affordable and deeply affordable housing;
• Applying Mandatory Inclusionary Housing for the first time, with both Option 1 (25 percent of housing at average of 60 percent AMI with 10 percent set aside for 40 percent AMI) and Deep Affordability Option (20 percent of housing at 40 percent AMI) available
• Dedicating 500 LINC vouchers to help move 500 homeless families out of shelter and into stable, affordable housing;
• Commitment of significant HPD subsidy to ensure any buildings HPD finances will reach deep levels of affordability.
• The School Construction Authority (SCA) will build a new 1,000 seat school in District 19, to alleviate school overcrowding and provide for a growing population;
• Strengthening the East New York Industrial Business Zone with $16.7 million of capital funding;
• Making Atlantic Avenue safer and more pedestrian friendly through a major DOT street improvement project with $40.8 million in Capital Funding. Significant upgrades to neighborhood parks
• Improved broadband access across the neighborhood

The commitments made in this plan will be tracked annually to ensure that the community is aware of progress towards completing these projects and initiatives.

Read more about the East New York Plan.

“This has been a long and difficult process, and today is definitely not the end, but rather the beginning of our work to protect a vulnerable community and rebuild neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades. Over the past two years, I’ve worked closely with my community to make sure their voice was heard in this process, and that the final plan addressed the specific needs of the East New York, Cypress Hills, and Ocean Hill communities. The changes made to the original plan combined with the capital commitments and accountability measures agreed to by this administration, allow me to feel confident in my decision to support the East New York Community Plan. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all housing plan, it’s a comprehensive anti-gentrification, neighborhood plan that addresses the needs of everyone in my district–the homeowners and tenants, the unemployed and the underemployed, the small businesses, manufacturers, and cultural organizations. It is a plan crafted for our community that will ensure East New York, Cypress Hills, and Ocean Hill are in the best position to fight the wave of market pressures and gentrification crashing over Brooklyn,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.

“With this rezoning, residents of East New York will benefit from thousands of new units of affordable housing and millions of dollars to improve their schools, parks, and community. This is literally the best community affordable housing plan ever in the history of New York. I particularly want to commend Councilman Rafael Espinal for his hard work on behalf of constituents, and I also thank the Speaker and Mayor de Blasio for their leadership on this issue,” said Council Member David Greenfield.

“The new and improved East New York rezoning plan has a stronger focus on providing a resurgence for the current residents of a neglected community,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. “The investments in schools, parks and infrastructure will help ensure that this neighborhood finally gets the resources it deserves and those resources are coming for the residents who live in East New York now. It was incredibly important that we got this plan right, as it is the first of many neighborhood rezoning that will now fall under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability. I am confident that Council Member Espinal truly delivered a phenomenal plan for his community.”

Increased Support Services Plan for Priority Areas

Certain areas of New York City have underlying problems such as homelessness, lack of employment, or drug and alcohol abuse that may contribute to a high level of crime. Introduction 809-A, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, would require the New York City Police Department to annually identify the top 35 priority areas that have higher rates of crime as compared to the rest of the city. Based on this information, support service agencies such as the Human Resources Administration, Administration for Children Services or Department of Education would report on current services offered in each of these priority areas. In addition, these support service agencies would develop a coordinated multiagency plan that would provide an overview of current services offered and an analysis to determine the specific services needed along with a plan for coordination between agencies to provide such services in each area.

“Decreasing crime in our community goes beyond the traditional work of law enforcement. We know that criminal activity doesn’t happen in a vacuum and occurs more frequently in areas of high poverty and low opportunity. By examining City Agencies’ work in high crime areas and legislating their increased coordination, this Council will be innovating a new method of fighting crime that will yield a safer and healthier City. I am proud to sponsor Int. 809 and to be spearheading the effort to make public safety everyone’s responsibility. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her commitment to a holistic approach to criminal justice and my bill co-sponsor Council Member Ritchie Torres for his continued support of this important effort,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

Displaced Building Workers

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the City Council passed the Displaced Building Service Workers Law in 2002. This law has successfully brought stability to building service workers whose jobs were jeopardized when buildings changed ownership or when an owner of a building changed the contractors working in a building. The law requires employers of building service workers to retain their workers for 90 days when there is any change in ownership of the building or in the contractor providing services. After 90 days, workers are evaluated, and those workers deemed satisfactory are to be offered continued employment.
Introduction 1004-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would amend the law so that the legislation would cover employers who are tenants in buildings and would raise the maximum wage that employees can make and still be covered by the law to $35 per hour, from $25 per hour. The legislation would also include provisions to annually adjust the cap for inflation.

“The original Displaced Building Service Workers Act has been cited as a model for other legislation in NYC and across the country. We cannot allow this model law to become obsolete. It must be updated to keep pace with the changing times. I’m proud to carry Intro. 1004 because building service workers and their families are still worthy of & in need of reasonable protections to keep their jobs secure at times of transition,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy.

Tax Abatement for Renovations of Residential Buildings

New York State has authorized the City to provide a tax exemption and abatement program for renovations of residential buildings, which is commonly referred to as the J-51 program. The program expired on June 30, 2015. Introduction 1118, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would extend the program through June 30, 2019. Introduction 1119, also sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would extend the same abatement program for single room occupancy housing units through the same date.

“The extension of the J-51 tax abatement/exemption program motivates property owners to make improvements on their properties, without the added burden of an onerous tax bill. Although we are passing a straight extender of J51 today, I look forward to continuing conversations with the Administration, Speaker and stakeholders on how we improve the program in the months and years ahead,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.

Permit Filing Fees

The Department of Buildings (DOB) charges fees for permit applications to offset the costs of plan examinations and inspections.
Introduction 831-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would decrease such fees for one, two and three-family homes by approximately 50 percent and increase such fees by around 70 to 75 percent for larger buildings, depending on the scope of the work. It would also allow such fees to be increased in the future to offset costs.

“Decreasing new building and alteration filing fees will lessen the financial burden on our smaller building owners and encourage the maintenance of their properties. There is an increase in fees for larger developments included, as well. Permit fees have not been adjusted since 1991, and doing so will modernize the fee structure,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams.