The Council will also vote on measures to reduce food insecurity
City Hall – The New York City Council on Tuesday will vote on legislation to create a “dangerous vehicle abatement program.” Under this legislation, owners who receive five red light camera violations or 15 speed camera violations within 12 months would be required to take a course on safe driving. These classes will be offered beginning in early 2021 and the program will run for three years. Owners who fail to take the course will risk their vehicle being impounded by the sheriff. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to issue a report on the effectiveness of the program and how certain driving behaviors correlate with traffic crashes.
Among many other dangers, speeding and running red-lights puts pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle occupants at a greater risk for a crash. Vehicle owners will have ample opportunity to contest the decision to require their enrollment in this course.
The Council will also vote on a series of bills designed to combat food insecurity citywide. This legislation follows the Council’s 2019 Growing Food Equity in New York City report. Over one million New Yorkers are considered food insecure, and over one million New Yorkers are reliant on food pantries and soup kitchens. New Yorkers from all age groups, especially families with children, are being affected.
Within the package, the Council will be voting to codify the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy within the City Charter and delegate specific responsibilities to the office, which currently exists pursuant to a mayoral mandate and coordinates food policy initiatives and reports along with other Mayoral agencies. The Council will also be voting to require a 10-year comprehensive food policy plan from the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy.
To expand the access New Yorkers have to healthy, affordable food, the Council will vote on additional legislation aimed at combatting food insecurity. This includes a bill to require the City to develop a plan to identify and enroll seniors who are eligible, but not currently enrolled to receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP) benefit and provide information regarding the health bucks program and farmers’ markets.
In addition, the Council will vote on a bill that would require the creation and implementation of a public online capital projects database that would allow for the tracking of capital projects citywide. As a result of this legislation, the City will for the first time have a comprehensive and public system for tracking the progress of capital projects across multiple agencies. This tool will allow for data analysis and reporting to help hold the City accountable for timely and cost-efficient capital project delivery.
Finally, the Council will vote on the appointment of Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk as a member and chair of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
The Council will also vote on additional finance items and several land use items.
Creates a “dangerous vehicle abatement program”
Proposed Int. No. 971-A, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would create a “dangerous vehicle abatement program” that requires owners of vehicles with 5 or more red light camera violations or 15 or more speed camera violations within 12 months to take a safe vehicle operation course offered by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If an owner fails to complete the course, their vehicle may be impounded by the Sheriff. This bill is designed to abate the public nuisance of dangerous vehicles, which have a detrimental effect on public health, safety and welfare because they are more likely to cause crashes.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, owners who receive a red light or speed camera ticket will be notified that those violations will count toward the dangerous vehicle abatement program. After receiving notice that a vehicle is covered under the program, an owner will have the opportunity to contest.
Defenses will include that:
- Another person was driving the vehicle and will take the course.
- The vehicle hasn’t accrued a sufficient number of tickets.
- The owner was not able to enroll in the course, through no fault of their own.
- Personal circumstances beyond the control of the owner would cause undue hardship and prevent them from completing the course.
The first classes will be offered early in 2021 and the program will run for three years. Each year, DOT will report on the number of drivers of who completed the course and the number of vehicles impounded. At least three months before the end of the program, DOT will issue a report on the effectiveness of the program and how certain driving behaviors correlate with traffic crashes.
“When Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew were killed by a driver with a history of speeding and running red lights right outside my office two years ago, we pledged to do something to intervene with the most reckless drivers before they kill or injure any more of our neighbors. Today we are taking a big step forward, launching the first program of its kind in the country to require owners of the most dangerous vehicles to consider the impact of their driving on their neighbors. Thanks to the powerful advocacy of Families for Safe Streets members, who shared their painful stories of loss over and over again to make the case for this bill, Transportation Alternatives, a tremendous set of safe streets advocates, lawyers, and data researchers, in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation, the Law Department, City Hall, the NYC Sheriff, and with Speaker Corey Johnson’s steadfast support, we are ready to move forward with an innovative, data-driven, scalable program to begin getting reckless drivers off the road,” said Council Member Brad Lander.
Requires the creation of a database to track capital projects citywide
Proposed Int. 113-A, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would require an interagency taskforce consisting of representatives of at least seven Mayoral offices and agencies to create an implement a public online capital projects database that would allow for the tracking of capital projects citywide and contain information on all capital projects undertaken by the city.
The bill would also establish an advisory board, consisting of representatives from the Mayor’s office, the Council, and the Comptroller, to receive updates from the taskforce and to provide feedback and recommendations. Once the taskforce has published the required capital projects database online, the bill states that the taskforce and advisory board would cease to exist and a requirement would begin for the Mayor to maintain such database and update it triannually, and for any agency that capital projects covered by the database to include a link to the database on the agency’s website.
“New York’s capital projects are in need of urgent reform. We struggle to keep pace with needed investments in our City’s future, from broadband, to renewable energy, to protections from storms like Hurricane Sandy. Half of large-scale city projects are over budget and behind schedule. I am grateful to the de Blasio Administration for committing to create a searchable, online database of the City’s capital projects, and to the Speaker for his support of this effort. This is a critical step forward towards solving the City’s long-term infrastructure crisis and ensuring equity across investments in capital projects,” said Council Member Brad Lander.
Establishes and office of food policy
Proposed Int. No. 1666-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would codify the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy office within the City Charter and delegate specific responsibilities to the office. The Mayor’s Office of Food Policy currently exists pursuant to a mayoral mandate and coordinates food policy initiatives and reports along with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as other agencies. However the office has not yet been codified into law or given a legislative mandate. This bill would formally establish the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, with a director as its head of office.
Specifically, the bill would authorize the Director of Food Policy to:
- Make recommendations to the mayor and city agencies regarding food policy.
- Coordinate multi-agency initiatives relating to food policy.
- Perform outreach to food policy community based organizations, academic institutions, and other entities to advance the city’s food policy.
- Support initiatives designed to promote access to healthy food, including initiatives designed to promote healthy food access to communities that have historically had inequitable access to healthy food due to economic, racial, or environmental factors.
“Purposeful and innovative food policy in New York City has the power to improve the health and life of millions of people. Having a food policy office dedicated to promoting access to healthy food while coordinating with other agencies and non-profits on sustainability will help address New York City’s growing obesity epidemic and food insecurity problems. Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson for taking this package of legislation and making it a priority,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.
Requires the formulation of a 10-year food policy plan by the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy
Proposed Int. No. 1664-A, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, would require the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to develop a 10-year comprehensive food policy plan for the city. The Office would be required to,where appropriate, consult with city agencies, community-based organizations, community leaders and other stakeholders in food policy, food equity, food justice and food insecurity in developing the plan.
The bill would also require that the plan:
- Be developed by the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy within 180 days of the bill’s passage.
- Include, at a minimum, recommendations relating to: reducing hunger, improving nutrition, increasing access to healthy food, reducing food waste, developing and improving food and farm economies, and increasing urban agriculture and sustainability.
- Include implementation strategies for city agencies to achieve the plan’s recommendations, as well as benchmarks to measure progress.
The Mayor’s Office of Food Policy would be required to submit progress reports on the plan to the Mayor and Speaker every two years after the plan is released.
“For many of our families, food insecurity remains a huge issue. That is why I believe it is imperative that we work together with community stakeholders and the administration to ensure that we establish goals to reduce hunger, improve nutrition and increase access to healthier food options in our neighborhoods. As the prime sponsor of Introduction 1664, which will require the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy to establish a ten year food policy strategy, I believe this legislation will have a significant impact on thousands of families that deserve access to quality and healthier food options. I want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson, my colleagues, and all of the food advocates that work hard every day to create a healthier New York. I look forward to the administration implementing this important piece of legislation and to working with all of the necessary stakeholders,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.
Requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Department for the Aging (DFTA), to develop a plan to identify and enroll seniors who are eligible, but not currently enrolled to receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP) benefits
Int. No. 1659-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret S. Chin, would require the Department of Social Services (DSS), working in collaboration with the Department for the Aging (DFTA), to develop a plan to identify and enroll seniors who are eligible for supplement nutritional assistance program (SNAP) benefits, but who are not yet enrolled to receive such benefits. While DFTA and City Meals on Wheels help screen homebound elderly New Yorkers for SNAP benefits, there are many seniors who are not connected to City services and unaware of the program.
“Social isolation is one of the biggest determinants of health risks in older New Yorkers, and not every senior is able to visit a senior center to access vital services. I am proud to pass legislation that requires the City to create an outreach plan to enroll these seniors in SNAP and make sure they aren’t neglected. I thank Speaker Johnson and all my colleagues for their commitment to securing food justice for the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
Requires the provision of information regarding the health bucks program and farmers’ markets
Int. No. 1650-A, sponsored by Council Member Adrienne E. Adams, would require the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) to provide information about the Health Bucks program and farmers’ markets in New York City to all individuals who receive or apply to receive supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. To support SNAP use at farmers’ markets, the City created the Health Bucks initiative in 2005. Health Bucks provide New Yorkers with additional purchasing power to buy fresh, locally-grown produce. For every $5 spent at farmers’ markets using SNAP on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, shoppers receive $2 in Health Bucks that can be spent at participating farmers’ markets. This bill would help ensure that more SNAP recipients are taking advantage of the Health Bucks program.
“Too many New Yorkers, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods, struggle to afford healthy food to feed themselves and their families. I am proud to work with Speaker Johnson and my colleagues to grow food equity in New York City as access to healthy food should not be determined by income. I look forward to the passage of my bill that will require HRA to provide information about the Health Bucks program and farmers markets to all individuals that receive or apply for SNAP benefits. Increasing awareness and accessibility of healthy food options can be life-changing,” said Council Member Adrienne E. Adams.
Calls upon the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) to expand eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to public college students
Resolution No. 1024-A, sponsored by Council Member Farah N. Louis, would call upon the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) to expand eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to public college students. Due to federal law, most able-bodied students who are enrolled in college at least half-time are not eligible for SNAP unless they work 20 hours a week. However, states can expand the regulations by exempting students in certain college and training programs from the work requirement.
Calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation to opt into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Restaurant Meals Program to allow disabled, elderly and homeless SNAP recipients to use their benefits on hot meals and other prepared foods at participating grocery stores, delis and restaurants.
Resolution No. 1025, sponsored by Council Member Farah N. Louis, would call upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation to opt into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Restaurant Meals Program to allow disabled, elderly and homeless SNAP recipients to use their benefits on hot meals and other prepared foods at participating grocery stores, delis and restaurants. Some disabled, elderly, or homeless SNAP recipients cannot easily cook meals or do not have access to needed kitchen facilities. Currently in New York State, SNAP recipients cannot use their benefits to purchase prepared foods. However, any state can allow for the purchase of prepared food by opting into the Restaurant Meals Program authorized under the 1977 Farm Bill. Currently Illinois, Arizona, 11 counties in California and one county in Rhode Island participate in the program.
“Federal programs like SNAP are designed to support our most vulnerable populations—but in reality, these very same populations often face several challenges to access these critical benefits. I am proud to sponsor two resolutions dedicated to removing these barriers to food. Resolution 1024, now coupled with subsequent action by Governor Cuomo, will expand SNAP eligibility for public college students by allowing them to use their classroom hours to satisfy employment requirements. This will allow students to focus on completing school rather than paying for basic needs, while ensuring they are able to learn free of the mental, physical, and emotional symptoms of chronic hunger.
Resolution 1025 calls upon state partners to opt into the already-established SNAP Restaurant Meals Program, which will allow disabled, elderly, and homeless SNAP recipients to use their benefits on hot meals and other prepared foods at participating grocery stores, delis, and restaurants. These populations often face difficulty preparing balanced meals for themselves and their families—this program would guarantee a hot meal regardless of ability or access to kitchen facilities. Thank you to Speaker Johnson for your leadership and to my co-sponsors for your support! It is my hope that we see an end to food inequity in our lifetime,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis.
The Council will vote on the following finance and land use committee items.
528 East 11th Street Article XI Property Tax Exemption
This property, in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district, would receive a 40-year Article XI property tax exemption to preserve 33 units of affordable co-op housing.
Carroll Gardens Portfolio Article XI Property Tax Exemption
This property, in Council Member Brad Lander’s district, would receive a 40-year Article XI property tax exemption to preserve 31 units of affordable rental housing.
147-40 15th Avenue Rezoning
The applicant, 8850 Management LLC, is seeking a zoning map amendment to establish a C1-2 commercial overlay within an existing R3A District on the south side of 15th Avenue between 147th Street and 149th Street in Council Member Paul Valone’s district. The proposed actions will facilitate the legal use of the site as a commercial office use and reduce the degree of nonconformance within the Rezoning Area.
22-60 46th Street Rezoning
The applicant, Mega Realty Holding LLC., is seeking a zoning map amendment to rezone one city block in Council Member Costa Constantinides’ district, from R4 and M1-1 zoning districts to R4, R4/C2-3, R6A, and R6A/C2-3 zoning districts. The Council has modified this application to the Workforce Option and add Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Option 1.
69-02 Queens Blvd. School Site Selection
SCA filed an application with City Council for the site selection of a new, approximately 476-Seat Primary School Facility (Q340) located at 69-02 Queens Boulevard in Council Member Robert Holden’s district. The new school will consist of approximately 78,000 square feet of school condominium space with an outdoor play space in a new mixed-use development. The proposed school will serve students in School District No. 24.
Somers Brothers Tinware Factory (later American Can Company)
The proposed designation of the Somers Brothers Tinware Factory (later American Can Company), located at 238-246 Third Street, 365-379 Third Avenue, and 232-236 Third Street for an individual landmark in Council Member Brad Lander’s district. Built in 1884 for Somers Brothers, a pioneer of American tinware production and prominent Brooklyn manufacturer in the latter half of the 19th century. The building is significant due to the features that are characteristic of late nineteenth-century industrial architecture and the American Round Arch style, as well as its distinctive polychromatic brick, patterns, projections, and prominent corner pavilion.
Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) Central Power Station Engine House
The proposed designation of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) Central Power Station Engine House located at 153 Second Street, (Block 967, Lot 1) for an individual landmark in Council Member Brad Lander’s district. Built between 1901 and 1904, the BRT Central Power Station was an important component of New York City’s mass transit development. Designed with Classical and Romanesque Revival-style features, including brick quoins and corbels, and round-arch and segmental-arch window openings, this monumental brick structure was one of the most prominent buildings constructed along the Gowanus Canal in the first half of the 19th century.
Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building
The proposed designation of the Montauk Paint Manufacturing Company Building located at 170 Second Avenue for an individual landmark in Council Member Brad Lander’s district. Built in 1908, and notable for its handsome and austere ornamentation of street facades, articulated by corbeled brick piers and brick spandrels and brick rowlock-course segmental arches. The building is remarkably intact and a distinct reminder of the Gowanus neighborhood’s industrial history.
Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House
The proposed designation of the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel Pumping Station and Gate House located at 201 Douglass Street in Council Member Stephen Levin’s district. This building was constructed between 1909 and 1911 in order to house the vital mechanical equipment used to flush pollutants from the waters of the Gowanus Canal. Built in the Neoclassical style, which reflects the monumental classism favored for civic structures at the time, the sophisticated façade is executed in brick with limestone trim, and draws from ancient and Renaissance precedents to five these sturdy vernacular buildings an appearance worthy of their important role in the infrastructure of the Gowanus Canal.
ASPCA Brooklyn Office, Shelter and Garage
The Proposed designation of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Brooklyn Office, Shelter and Garage, located at 233 Butler Street in Council Member Stephen Levin’s district. Constructed as an animal shelter in 1913 and expanded in 1922 into the ASPCA’s Brooklyn office, shelter, and garage, 233 Butler Street is the city’s finest surviving building associated with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The design of the building is primarily neo-Romanesque, with classical features and pattered brick enlivening the façade. Historically associated with fortresses, castles, and churches, the Romanesque was a fitting inspiration, which reinforces the Society’s image as the guardians of the vulnerable and expressing the buildings protective function.