The Council will also vote to crack down on unattended vehicles that
create safety hazards
City Hall – The New York City Council on Tuesday will vote on legislation that requires bird friendly glass in buildings throughout New York City. It is estimated that as many as 230,000 birds die each year in New York City because of building collisions. The Council bill requires 90% of the building envelope for the first 75 feet of any new building, or any building that is proposed to undergo major alterations, to be constructed of bird friendly materials that meet a specified design standard that is intended to decrease bird strikes.
The Council will also vote legislation that requires the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to tow away unattended vehicles that are obstructing a sidewalk, crosswalk, fire hydrant, bicycle lane, or bus lane if the vehicle poses a threat to safety or would inhibit the safe and expeditious passage of MTA buses. This legislation is designed to further enforce punishment for placard abuse throughout New York City and is proposed on the heels of a comprehensive package of legislation that targets placard corruption.
Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill to repeal the Critical Driver Program and amend the persistent violators program that applies to drivers of taxicabs and for-hire vehicles. The Critical Driver Program is a redundant and confusing program run by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). It is designed in the same manner as the Persistent Violator Program, with the exception being that it allows drivers to reduce accumulated license points through DMV accident prevention courses. This bill would consolidate the points-reduction elements into the Persistent Violator Program, thus allowing drivers to reduce accumulated points through either DMV or TLC accident prevention courses.
To increase transparency within the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), the Council will vote on a bill that requires the BSA to notify building owners when a special permit is about to expire.
Finally, the Council will vote on several land use items.
Housing & Buildings Legislation
Related to the requirement of the use of bird friendly materials in buildings
Introduction No. 1482-B, sponsored by Council Member Rafael L. Espinal Jr., would require 90% of the building envelope for the first 75 feet of any new building, or any building that is proposed to undergo major alterations, to be constructed of bird friendly materials that meet a specified design standard intended to decrease bird strikes. This bill would also require the installation of these bird friendly materials where an exterior wall envelope is adjacent to a green roof system, and on certain installations that create hazards for birds, such as glass awnings, handrails, windbreak panels, acoustic barriers and parallel glass panels.
This local law would take effect one year after it becomes law but would not apply to applications for construction document approval filed before such effective date.
“Every year over 2 billion birds die from window collisions in this country. And since New York City is along the bird migration route, between 90,000 and 230,000 birds, from hawks to hummingbirds, die from flying into buildings in our city. This is a staggering statistic especially when we have a solution ready to go that can save the many lives of this vital part of our ecosystem. New York City has taken many historic and extraordinary steps to reduce our carbon footprint. This bill will add to our environmental legacy as we are taking responsibility for our role in the ecosystem that lasted long before towering skyscrapers. I am grateful for the support from Speaker Corey Johnson, my colleagues in the Council, and all of the tireless advocates who fought to save the lives of millions of birds,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal Jr.
Amends the administrative code of the city of New York and the New York City plumbing code to bring such code up to date with the 2015 edition of the international plumbing code
Proposed Introduction No. 1481-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., would amend the administrative code of the City of New York and the New York city plumbing code in relation to bringing such code up to date with the 2015 edition of the international plumbing code with differences that reflect the unique character of the city and repealing chapter 11 and appendices C, F, and G of the New York city plumbing code in relation thereto.
“I am the proud sponsor of Intro 1481-A, which will amend the New York City plumbing code to bring it up to date with the 2015 International Plumbing Code. I would like to thank City Council Central Staff and technical experts that helped craft this piece of complex legislation. The plumbing code is the first construction code to be heard during this code cycle, and it is incredibly important toward the work that keeps this great city moving forward,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.
Governmental Operations Legislation
Repeals the critical driver program and amends the persistent violators program relating to drivers of taxicabs and for-hire vehicles
Introduction No. 1249-B, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would eliminate the Critical Driver Program, a redundant and confusing New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) program that operated in the same manner as the Persistent Violator Program. The Persistent Violator Program requires suspension of a TLC driver’s license if the driver accumulates between six and nine points issued by the TLC or points issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within a 15-month period, and requires revocation of a driver’s license for accumulating 10 or more points within 15 months.
The only non-duplicative element of the Critical Driver Program is that it allows drivers to reduce accumulated license points through DMV accident prevention courses. The Persistent Violator program lets drivers reduce points through TLCaccident prevention courses. This bill would consolidate the points-reduction elements into the Persistent Violator Program, thus allowing drivers to reduce accumulated points through DMV and TLC accident prevention courses.
These programs were separate until Local Law 30 of 2014, as an element of the Mayor’s Vision Zero Action Plan, included both TLC- and DMV-issued points under the Persistent Violator Program. However, according to the TLC, this caused confusion for drivers, many of whom thought they were being penalized twice for the same violation.
“Today the Council took another step in helping our overburdened taxi drivers by passing Intro 1249-B. For too long, there was duplication in two existing but similar driver violator programs that confused drivers, often causing them to think they were being charged twice for a violation. This bill eliminates confusion by updating the Persistent Violator Program to include provisions from the Critical Driver program, related to accident prevention courses. The bill also consolidates these two programs. Intro 1249 will eliminate the duplication and simplify the process while continuing to hold drivers to high standards,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
Requires the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to notify building owners of the expiration of temporary variances and special permits.
Introduction No. 1095, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, would increase transparency within the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) and ensure that buildings granted temporary special permits don’t use them indefinitely. The BSA is empowered to issue a temporary “special permit” to grant a certain building use in a district where that use isn’t otherwise allowed.
This bill does the following:
- Requires the BSA to notify building owners when a special permit is about to expire. Such notification must go out six months before the special permit expires.
- Because use of such property after the special permit’s expiration may be a violation of the building’s certificate of occupancy, the BSA’s notification must inform the owner that a special permit may not be extended until any penalties for such a violation are paid.
- Requires that such notification be sent to the community board in which the property is located.
This bill builds on Local Law 84-2017, which required the BSA to provide similar notification when a variance to the Zoning Resolution is about to expire.
“Intro 1095 requires the Board of Standards and Appeals to notify community boards no later than six months before a variance or special permit in the district expires. Over the past several years I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the 59 community boards about legislation that could be helpful. I was told that BSA notifications about expiring permits and variances don’t always reach the businesses in the community. But since the community boards have their finger on the pulse of the neighborhood, they can make sure that the owner is aware that a permit or variance is about to expire. This helps community boards fulfill their important role and preserves small businesses in our neighborhoods,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
Related to removing vehicles obstructing a sidewalk, crosswalk, fire hydrant, bicycle lane, or bus lane
Proposed Introduction No. 1412-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert F. Holden, would provide that Police Department tow trucks may remove unattended vehicles that are obstructing a sidewalk, crosswalk, fire hydrant, bicycle lane, or bus lane if the vehicle poses a threat to safety or would inhibit the safe and expeditious passage of MTA buses. This bill would also require the Police Department to issue a report in January of 2021 that includes, for each month in 2020, the number of vehicles towed disaggregated by police precinct.
The Council will vote on the following land use and finance committee items.
“Parking is constantly becoming more limited in this city, and unfortunately that leads to drivers abandoning the rules of the road. Not only is it dangerous for vehicles to block fire hydrants, crosswalks, sidewalks, bus lanes and bike lanes, but it greatly increases the amount of congestion on the roads. It is even more egregious when city employees abuse their parking privileges while adding to this danger. With Int. 1412, police will have the ability to tow drivers who park irresponsibly in these spaces and hopefully bring an end to this practice,” said Council Member Robert F. Holden.
Land Use Items
101 Fleet Street
This is an application for a rezoning from an existing R6 district to a C6-4 district, extending the Special Downtown Brooklyn District, and establishing a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area, to facilitate the construction of a new 14 story commercial office building. The Council will be restoring the originally proposed zoning in order to facilitate the retention of a day care center in the new development. The council will be modifying the application to restore the C6-4 designation and modifying the MIH Option.
515 Blake Avenue
This an application from HPD for designation and project approval of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP), and disposition approval; a zoning map amendment to rezone R6, C4-3, and R6/C2-3 districts to R6A, R7D/C2-4, and R7D/C1-4 districts; a zoning text amendment to map MIH Option 1; and a Large Scale General Development special permit to modify bulk regulations to redistribute floor area across the development site.
These actions will facilitate the development of approximately 500 affordable units of housing, half of which will be affordable to very low-income applicants with an Area Median Income of 50% or below. Thirty percent of those deeply affordable units are being set aside for people coming out of the shelter system.