Council to Vote to Regulate the For-Hire Vehicle Industry

Council will also vote on legislation requiring tobacco retail licenses

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on a package of bills aiming to regulate the for-hire vehicle industry. In addition, the Council will vote on a bill to require tobacco retail licenses. The Council will also vote to co-name a street in Brooklyn in honor of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Finally, the Council will vote on several finance and land use items.

For-Hire Vehicle Regulation Package

Reducing Licensing Fees for Accessible Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles

Introduction 634-B, sponsored by Council Members Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Ydanis Rodriguez, would waive the license fee for taxis and for-hire vehicles if the vehicles being licensed are wheelchair accessible. The current taxi license fee is $550 and the current for-hire vehicle license fee is $275.

Creating a New Category for High Volume For-Hire Transportation Services

Introduction 838-C, sponsored by Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr., would add a new license for high volume for-hire transportation services serving over 10,000 trips a day. Given the high amount of trips required to qualify as a high-volume for-hire service, the new license would only apply to a handful of companies at the moment. The license would be valid for a period of two years and the Taxi and Limousine Commission will set the required licensing fee.

Reducing Fines for Illegal Street Hails

Introduction 958-A, sponsored by Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr., would remove the enhanced financial penalties for unauthorized street hails in the hail exclusionary zone.

Conducting a Study on the Impact of For-Hire Vehicles

Introduction 144-B, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would require the Taxi and Limousine Commission to study and decide whether to adopt vehicle utilization standards or regulations on the number of for-hire vehicle licenses. During this one-year study, no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair accessible vehicles. The TLC would also be able to issue licenses if it determines there is a need in a particular geographic area and there isn’t a substantial effect on congestion.

“In a just a few years, the number of for-hire vehicles in our city has increased dramatically, snarling traffic and sparking a race to the bottom where all drivers are struggling to make more than poverty wages. An average of 2,000 additional vehicles hit the streets every month while drivers already spend nearly half their time with empty seats. Doing nothing or endlessly waiting for others to act is not a feasible option. This bill is a measured response that empowers the TLC to study the issue during the temporary pause on issuance of new FHV licenses. I thank my council colleagues for their support and Speaker Johnson for his thoughtful and responsible approach throughout the process,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

Setting Minimum Payments to For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

Introduction 890-B, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would require the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to set minimum payments to for-hire vehicle drivers for trips dispatched by high-volume for-hire services. TLC would also be required to study payments for other for-hire vehicle trips and would be authorized to set payments for those trips as well as set minimum rates of fare.

“I’m proud that my bill to make New York City the first major U.S. city to establish a minimum pay standard and living wage requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers is part of the City Council’s much-needed legislative package on for-hire vehicles. I strongly support the full package, which is our best opportunity to protect drivers, level the playing field, reduce congestion, and support accessibility. Huge thanks to the courageous for-hire drivers for organizing tirelessly and ringing the alarm bell on driver pay, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission and Council Speaker Corey Johnson for taking leadership on this issue,” said Council Member Brad Lander.

Requiring Tobacco Retail Dealer Licenses

Introduction 965-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, would allow businesses selling tobacco products other than cigarettes more time to register for a retail tobacco dealer license and come into compliance with a law the Council passed last session that regulates the sale of tobacco products other than cigarettes and limits the number of stores selling these products over time. The Department of Consumer Affairs will be required to notify the persons eligible to apply pursuant to this bill about the application process and deadline.

Street Co-naming in Honor of Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Introduction No. 1087, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would co-name Rogers Avenue between Farragut Road and Eastern Parkway as Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard. Dessalines, a former slave, was a founding father of Haiti.

 

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

Resolution 469, sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, supports additional borrowing by the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation (HYIC) in an amount not to exceed $500 million to complete the infrastructure projects in the Hudson Yards Financing District, including Phase 2 of the project, which includes expansion of the Hudson Boulevard and Park.

The Council will also vote on two Article XI Property Tax Exemptions:

526 West 158th Street

This tax exemption in Council Member Mark Levine’s district would support the preservation of 29 affordable housing units.

941 Rogers Place

This tax exemption in Council Member Rafael Salamanca’s district would support the preservation of 20 affordable housing units.

 

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

East 14th and Irving Place, Manhattan (L.U. Nos. 144-146)

The Council will vote on an application by the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Fourteenth at Irving LLC, to redevelop a city-owned site with a 21-story technology focused office and retail commercial building.  The vote includes a Zoning Map Amendment to change the rezoning area from an existing C6-3X, C6-2A and C6-1 districts to a C6-4 district (Block 559, Lots 16 and 55), a Zoning Text Amendment 1) to map the rezoning area as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area, and 2) to modify ZR Section 74-721 to allow waivers applicable to C6-4 district with zoning lots 30,000 sf or greater, and a – Zoning Special Permit pursuant to Section 74-721 to modify the height and setback requirements of Section 33-432 and the required rear yard equivalent of Section 23-532.

The building will be home to a unique cluster of workforce development organizations which will help connect thousands of people each year with the skills and training they need to connect with jobs in the new economy.

This development is located in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district.

“After eight months of intense negotiations with City Hall, I am satisfied that we are achieving the two most important goals our community needed from this rezoning. I am voting yes today for a Tech Hub that will bring true community benefits, tech education, and workforce development services that will finally give women, people of color, and low-income New Yorkers access to an industry that has unfairly kept them out for far too long. And I am of course voting yes with the knowledge that we achieved crucial protections for the neighborhood that I have lived in my entire life and seen change so much over the last 15 years. These protections include key landmarkings, a commencement of establishing a protective zoning measure in neighborhoods south of 14th Street that will regulate commercial development, and further resources and commitments from HPD, LPC, and the Mayor’s Office that will have a lasting positive impact on the preservation of affordable and historical housing alike. I believe these protections for the neighborhood are the first in a string of victories that will allow us to develop sensible zoning for livable streets, establish landmarking of precious historical sites, and ensure the small businesses we cherish prosper, ” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. 

Inwood Rezoning, Manhattan (L.U. Nos. 135-140)

The Council will vote on the Inwood rezoning and neighborhood plan.  The plan for Inwood will result in the investment of hundreds of millions in housing, parks and the waterfront, education, small businesses, job training, community services and culture, and infrastructure.

As a result of the rezoning, and the inclusion of City-owned sites, this plan will facilitate the development of 2,600 new units of affordable housing, as well as preserve and protect another 2,500 existing affordable homes.

The modified plan reduces the scale of the rezoning and removes the Commercial U (Dyckman-Broadway-207th Street), commits resources for small business development, and includes a new policy to promote longer-term commercial leases with limited rent increases, all of which will help preserve the existing small business character of Inwood.

The plan will include significant investments in our public school facilities, curriculum and teacher professional development, expanding STEM programming and developing new post-secondary courses locally with City College.

Commitments also include funding for a new Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center, which will celebrate the immigrant history of the community and City, while also providing a much needed performing arts venue for local community groups starved of such space.

Finally, the plan includes $137 million for new and improved public parks and waterfront open space, as well as $134 million in transportation, pedestrian safety and infrastructure improvements.

This application is in Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez’ district.

East 33rd Street Rezoning, Manhattan

The Council is approving with modifications an application submitted by 33rd Street Acquisition LLC for a zoning map amendment to rezone nine lots within Block 939 from an existing R8A district to a C1-9A district, and a zoning text amendment to establish a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area with Options 1 and 2, to facilitate a development of a 23-story mixed-use building located at 339-343 and 345 East 33rd Street, including 40 permanent affordable housing units which would comply with the Option 1 of the MIH program. The project is located in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district.

1019-1029 Fulton Street

The Council will be voting on an application submitted by The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Fulton Star LLC to seek designation of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP), project approval and disposition of city-owned property at 1027 and 1029 Fulton Street and zoning special  permit to waive required off-street parking at 1021-1029 Fulton Street. The actions will facilitate the development of an eight-story building with approximately 50 residential units and 6,100 square feet of ground-floor commercial retail space to be constructed on the disposition area and six adjacent privately owned lots.

North Conduit Demapping, Queens

The Council will vote on an application for an amendment to the City Map involving: the elimination, discontinuance and closing of a portion of North Conduit Avenue between Springfield Boulevard and 144th Avenue. The proposed demapping would allow the applicant to purchase a portion of the Project Area from the City to use, on a permanent basis, for permitted off-street accessory parking for the uses on the applicant’s property adjacent to the demapping area. This project is located in Council Member Donovan Richards’ District.

Balton Commons, Manhattan

The Council will vote on an application for the proposed Urban Development Action Area designation, project approval, and disposition approval for property located at 263-267 West 126 Street. This action will facilitate the development of a new 7-story mixed-use building that includes 36 affordable rental units, community facility space and retail space. This project is located in Council Member Bill Perkin’s district.

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