Council to Vote on Fire and Emergency Safety Bill Package

Council to also vote on package of resolutions calling on the New York State Legislature to act on rent regulations

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on a package of fire and emergency safety bills. The Council was prompted to introduce legislation to address fire safety after a series of Bronx fires in late December and early January that resulted in 15 deaths and 29 injuries. In addition, the Council will vote on a number of finance and land use items.

Fire and Emergency Safety Package

Requiring the FDNY to Conduct Outreach and Education to Residential Buildings

Introduction 599-A, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would ensure fire safety guides are distributed in apartment buildings and fire safety and prevention educational materials as well as relevant trainings are provided to building staff. Additionally, the FDNY would be required to submit annual reports on such outreach efforts.

“The Council will do everything in its power to make sure tragedies like we saw in the Bronx over the winter do not happen again. With this package, we will require New York’s bravest to ensure that all residential tenants are provided with fire safety information to assist our City’s families remain safe in their homes. I thank Fire and Emergency Management Committee Chair Joseph Borelli, Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Robert Cornegy and all my colleagues for their efforts and support on these bills,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

 

Mandating Self-Closing Doors in Residential Buildings

Introduction 602-A, sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli, would require that all doors in residential occupancies be self-closing by July 31, 2021, and also creates a class C violation of the Housing Maintenance Code for a failure to keep and maintain self-closing doors.

“This bill will save lives. I know that this package of bills, including the education and outreach components of my colleagues’ legislation, will make our city a safer place. I’m so grateful to Speaker Johnson, my colleagues, and the wonderful committee staff for all of their hard work and determination to accomplish this,” said Council Member Joe Borelli.

 

Requiring the FDNY to Meet Standards for Fire Hydrant Inspections and Report on  Inspection Results

Introduction 603-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would codify the Fire Department’s existing hydrant inspection practice. Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection would be required to report on the occurrence and results of such inspections; including information on the number of hydrants subject to inspection, the number of inspections that occurred in the prior calendar year, the number of hydrants found to be inoperable through inspection, the number of hydrants found inoperable and classified as priority hydrants, and the number of priority hydrants not subsequently repaired after being found inoperable.

 

Mandating Smoke Alarms in Residential Buildings

Introduction 604-A, sponsored by Council Members Robert Cornegy and Chaim Deutsch, would require that after January 1, 2021, smoke alarms in residential occupancies that are installed within 20 feet from a fixed cooking appliance must comply with standards for reduction of nuisance alarms.

“Promoting the safety and well-being of New Yorkers is the number one priority of the Council’s Committee on Housing & Buildings. As the Committee Chair, I am proud to sponsor this piece of legislation which, along with several others sponsored by my colleagues, will make critical updates to the City’s building and fire codes to increase fire safety in residential buildings throughout our city,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

 

Developing Emergency Evacuation Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities or Limited Mobility

Introduction 606-A, sponsored by Council Members Donovan Richards and Chaim Deutsch, would require the FDNY, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, to develop a checklist to assist individuals with disabilities or limited mobility in developing individualized emergency evacuation plans.

“After Sandy, I saw firsthand the trouble many seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities experienced while having to evacuate their homes in an emergency. It was clear that residents, landlords and the city could be doing so much more to prepare for the next storm or fire. Int. 606-A focuses on properly preparing residents by requiring that FDNY, OEM and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities help residents create a checklist for their own individualized evacuation plans. I’d like to thank Speaker Johnson and Chair Cornegy for their support on this legislation,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.

“Today the Council is passing a package of fire prevention bills to increase protections for residents living in multiple dwellings, as well as urging outreach and education to New Yorkers to teach fire safety methods. In 2017, our City lost more than 70 people to fatal fires, many of which could have been prevented. I’m grateful to Speaker Corey Johnson and Fire Committee Chair Councilman Joe Borelli for their leadership, and my colleagues Councilmembers Ritchie Torres, Robert Cornegy, Donovan Richards, and Costa Constantindes for their partnership as we endeavor to protect New Yorkers and prevent fires. During the last several years, my district suffered two fatal fires – one claimed the lives of seven young brothers and sisters, and the other, a mother and her three children. We must do everything in our power to ensure that this never happens again, and I’m pleased to be passing this package of bills as a step towards preventing future injury or fatalities,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch.

 

Mandating the Posting of Notices to Close Apartment Doors When Escaping a Fire

Introduction 608-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the posting of notices within residential buildings regarding the importance of closing doors when escaping a fire to prevent the spread of fire.

 

Requiring the FDNY to Implement a Plan for Educating both Children and Parents about Fire Safety and Prevention

Introduction 609-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the FDNY, in consultation with the Department of Education, to develop and implement a plan for educating children and parents about common fire dangers and prevention measures. Such plan will include outreach at schools, public service announcements, and information on preventative measures to be taken by parents. Additionally, the FDNY will be required to report annually on such efforts.

 

Mandating Stove Knob Covers in Residential Buildings

Introduction 610-A, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require that all landlords provide stove knob covers to tenants in units where children under the age of six reside to prevent the children from using the stove.

“This comprehensive legislative package on fire safety, prevention and education will save lives and can prevent household fires from happening. By legislating the installation of stove safety knobs and proactively educating residents about fires, we are aiming to prevent another catastrophe. I thank Borough President Diaz Jr. and Councilman Deutsch for their partnership on these bills and advocacy on fire prevention, and look forward to their enactment into law,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

 

Rent Regulations Resolutions Package

The Council will also be voting on several resolutions calling on the State to strengthen rent laws. Although the State law on rent regulation does not expire until next June, it is possible that the State Legislature may pursue the renewal of rent laws before the end of the State’s legislative session. The Council is urging the State to make the changes that are called for in the resolutions, which would help preserve thousands of rent regulated units.

Resolution No. 326, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would call on the State to enact S.6527/A.6285, in order to limit rent increases where landlords are charging a preferential rent and would only allow an increase from a preferential rent to a legal regulated rent upon vacancy of the unit, not at renewal.

Resolution No. 325, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, calls on the state to enact S. 3179/A.5557, which would repeal the “Urstadt law” and allow New York City to regulate residential rents.

Resolution No. 327, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would call on the State to enact legislation extending the statute of limitations for rent overcharges.

Resolution No. 328, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would call on the State to enact legislation that would require the surcharge cease once the owners to recoups the cost of building-wide improvements.

Resolution No. 332, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, calls upon the State to enact S.1593/A.9815, which would repeal the vacancy bonus.

Resolution No. 331, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would call on the State to enact legislation that would repeal vacancy decontrol.

Resolution No. 339, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers, would state that the City Council supports State legislation that would set the percentage rent increase available to owners of certain rent-controlled apartments to the lesser of 7.5 percent or an amount equal to the average of the previous five rent guidelines board increases.

Resolution No. 340, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would state that the City Council supports State legislation that would extend rent stabilization to unregulated apartments.

 

The City Council will also vote on the following finance item(s)…

The Council will be voting on five Article XI property tax exemptions.

  1. Livonia Regina ‒ Council Member Justin Brannan
  2. Mosholu Grand ‒ Council Member Andrew Cohen
  3. 153 Manhattan Avenue ‒ Council Member Mark Levine
  4. Grower Green ‒ Council Member Antonio Reynoso
  5. Leggett Avenue ‒ Council Member Diana Ayala

 

The City Council will also vote on the following land use item(s)…

Montefiore Cemetery

The Council will vote on a bill that would allow a cemetery corporation that owns land in Queens to use up to two additional acres acquired before 1973 for cemetery uses, provided such land is across the street and such cemetery corporation first obtains approval for such use from the Council.  This bill is necessary to effectuate an application by Montefiore Cemetery to convert land it has used as a parking lot into additional burial plots. The project is in Council Member I. Daneek Miller’s district.

NYPD 116th Police Precinct

The Council will vote on the site selection of the 116th Police Precinct in Queens.  This is a major milestone in addressing the longer than average response times by NYPD for residents in Southeast Queens. The 105th Precinct manages over 350 miles of roadway, and residents who rely on this precinct for emergency response face longer than average response times compared to the rest of the City. The addition of the 116th Police Precinct will assume half of the 105th Precinct’s territory to allow the NYPD to respond faster to emergency events in Southeast Queens. Local civic leaders in Rosedale, Laurelton, and Springfield Gardens have advocated for this additional NYPD presence for over 40 years, in Council Member Donovan Richards’ district.

St. Andrew’s Community Day Care Center

The Council will vote to approve the site selection of a day care facility in Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s district.

1618 Fulton Street

The Council will vote on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD’s) application for approval of an Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the development of an 100 unit, 100% affordable housing building, in Council Member Robert Cornegy’s district.

1490 Southern Boulevard

The Council will vote on HPD’s application for approval of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) to facilitate the development of a 10-story mixed-use building with 114 units of affordable senior housing, on-site supportive services, and a 4,500 SF community facility space to be occupied by the LGBT Network.  This project is located in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district.

Paul Robeson Houses

The Paul Robeson Houses is seeking an Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the preservation of two 100% affordable buildings, totaling 81 units, in Council Member Bill Perkins’s district.

Archer Green

HPD is seeking Council approval of an Article XI Tax Exemption to facilitate the construction of a 350-unit mixed-use development in downtown Jamaica, Queens. This affordable housing development is in Council Member I. Daneek Miller’s District.

 

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