The Council will also vote to create a unified scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccinations
City Hall – The New York City Council will vote today on two pieces of legislation to strengthen the current lead laws by expanding inspections when a child tests positive for having elevated blood lead levels and improving interagency communication.
Under one of the bills, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) will be required to not only inspect the apartment when a child tests positive, but also any daycare, preschool or nursery where the child spends 10 or more hours a week. Additionally, DOHMH will inspect any park or playground where the city determines bare soil poses a potential source of lead exposure.
In addition, DOHMH will have to notify the residents of the building that a lead hazard was identified and notify the residents of the dwelling units it intends to inspect. DOHMH will also have to provide information in regard to special education services available from the Department of Education to the parent or guardian of any child under 18 determined to have an elevated blood lead level.
The Council will also vote on a second lead bill to require better interagency communication, tenant notification and inspections related to lead-based paint and lead dust hazards. This bill would require DOHMH to expand existing education, referral, and notification procedures related to lead hazards. It would also require certifications related to lead safe work practices to be a part of certain permit applications and Tenant Protection Plans.
This bill would also require the Buildings Department to conduct an inspection within 24 hours of receiving a complaint of unsafe lead work practices as well as take dust wipes to determine whether any construction dust is lead-contaminated, and refer these wipes and any other hazardous conditions to DOHMH for analysis.
Although the use of lead paint was banned in New York City in 1960, New Yorkers are still being negatively impacted by lead paint used in buildings. Despite progress made under the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2004, almost 4,000 children were identified with elevated blood lead levels in 2018. To strengthen the existing lead laws, in 2019 and 2020 the City Council passed 14 pieces of lead-related legislation, building upon the 2004 Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. Today’s actions seek to build on those laws.
The Council is also taking steps to improve vaccination efforts by voting on a bill to create a unified scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccinations. Under the proposal, the DOHMH will develop and maintain a website for all cooperating vaccination providers and locations. The bill will also require the website to offer alerts to vaccine eligible New Yorkers and allow them to pre-register for those appointments.
The Council will also vote on three bills related to the environment including one bill that amends the existing sustainable energy loan program to include energy efficiency improvements to new buildings. A second bill will require the office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to develop climate resiliency design guidelines. Those guidelines will be used to develop a climate resiliency score metric for capital projects. The score will include flooding risk, energy resiliency, green infrastructure, and heat mitigation. The third bill will further raise the height above the flood line, also known as the safety factor or freeboard, for most newly constructed or improved buildings located on the floodplain, which will provide additional floodproofing. Buildings would be elevated an additional one or two feet.
Additionally, the Council will vote on three resolutions. One resolution calls on the New York State Legislature to pass legislation offering temporary retirement incentives for certain public employees who are 55 or older or have worked more than 25 years of service.
A second resolution calls on the New York State Legislature to pass legislation allowing local health departments to implement changes to improve COVID-19 vaccine roll out, including expanding eligibility to include those living in the zip codes most impacted by COVID-19.
The third resolution calls on the New York State Legislature to pass legislation protecting New York State’s safety net providers and Special Needs Plan by eliminating the Medicaid pharmacy carve out. Finally, the Council will vote on several land use and finance items.
Expands inspections for lead poisoning incidents
Int. No. 864-A, sponsored by Speaker Corey Johnson, would expand the investigations that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is required to conduct under existing law whenever it is alerted about a child with an elevated blood lead level. Under this legislation, DOHMH or another relevant city agency would be required to inspect not just the dwelling unit where a poisoned child resides, but also any daycare, preschool, or nursery school where the child routinely spends 10 or more hours per week, as well as any park or playground where DOHMH determines that bare soil presents a potential source of lead exposure.
DOHMH would also be required to inspect any apartment with a child under the age of one in the same building as the dwelling unit where poisoned child resides. These inspections would include analysis by an x-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) of all friction surfaces, chewable surfaces and impact surfaces, as well as assisting with the ordering of a free water test kit and testing of soil from any area on the property covered in bare soil that may be a potential source of lead exposure.
When DOHMH issues an order to abate a lead paint hazard, landlords would be required to report XRF results for all surfaces in a unit to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) within 60 days. DOHMH or another relevant city agency would be required to notify all residents of the building that a lead hazard was identified, and to provide specific notice to residents of units it intends to inspect, as well as refer these residents to resources to learn more about their rights under the city’s lead laws. This legislation also requires that DOHMH provide information regarding special education services available from the department of education to the parent or guardian of any child under the age of 18 determined to have an elevated blood lead level.
“Although the use of lead paint was banned in New York City in 1960, New Yorkers, particularly children, are still negatively impacted by lead paint used in buildings. This is unacceptable. We need to do more to protect them. This Council has done amazing work protecting our children from lead poisoning, but we won’t be satisfied until there are no more cases,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
Creates a unified scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccinations
Intro 2236-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, would require Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, or another agency designated by the mayor, to develop and maintain a website which operates as a unified scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccinations for all cooperating vaccination locations and providers located in New York City. The website would also allow an eligible user to receive notifications when new vaccination appointments are available, and to pre-register for such appointments, which will ensure that users won’t have to spend great amounts of time refreshing the website to find available appointments.
“Scheduling a vaccine appointment in New York City requires you to run a gauntlet of confusing, time-consuming websites with inconsistent rules and procedures,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This is having the effect of blocking out the most vulnerable New Yorkers, in particular, the elderly and low-wage workers. We need a single, simple, multilingual site that works like hotel or flight reservation sites and brings together all the vaccine scheduling systems available throughout the City, State, public and private hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.”
Allows local health departments to establish changes to improve COVID-19 vaccine roll out
Resolution 1535, sponsored by Council Member Daneek Miller, calls on the State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation allowing for the implementation of the steps outlined in a letter sent by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the New York City Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus to the New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi. Steps to improve the vaccination process include ensuring vaccine distribution must be executed with maximum urgency, and no less frequently than 24 hours per day, 7 days per week; expanding eligibility to include those who live in the zip codes most impacted by COVID-19; creating a vaccine standby list for residents, so individuals can receive a vaccine if it would otherwise go to waste, and ensuring the City and State are working with advocacy organizations and those groups on the ground.In addition to the vaccine distribution planning steps in the letter, the resolution also calls for the State to develop a publicly accessible, real-time vaccination dashboard which discloses vaccination data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, employment, and zip code.
“As we rebuild and recover, it is vitally important that we continue to prioritize the communities hardest-hit by COVID-19. The frontline and essential workers, as well as communities of color, must have equitable and robust access to the vaccine as we slowly regain a semblance of normalcy in the city. Resolution 1535 calls on the State to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that would allow local health departments to implement changes to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, leading the way for a tailored approach to accommodate the needs of our most vulnerable. I thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support of this legislation, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for his partnership,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.
Elimination of the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out
Resolution1529-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Levine, calls on the State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation to protect the State’s safety net providers and special needs plans by eliminating the Medicaid pharmacy carve-out. The resolution calls for the elimination of the pharmacy carve-out which would be detrimental to their operations, and would lead to large budgetary losses, reduced services, clinic closures, and staff layoffs.In April 2020, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature passed a budget that included a plan to transition, or “carve out”, the Medicaid managed care pharmacy benefit to a fee-for-service model.
Since most individuals with Medicaid in New York State have managed care plans, this carve out would harm 340B providers because they would no longer be able to purchase prescription drugs at a significantly reduced price and use those savings to provide numerous services addressing social determinants of health and health inequities. 340b providers include community health centers, HIV providers, sexual health clinics, many rural hospitals, and other safety net providers.If New York State proceeds with the carve out, safety net providers will lose hundreds of millions of dollars they now use for patient care, and the State and the federal government will instead receive more rebates. These very safety net providers are the same entities providing much needed care to our City’s hardest hit communities, including Black and Latino/x communities, lower income communities, and those who are immigrants, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“The funds generated by the 340b program are critical to New York City’s ability to wage a wide range of public health battles, including against COVID,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This program is a vital tool in our efforts to tear down the systematic inequalities in the health system. It is therefore utterly indefensible that the State would consider eliminating this critical program, especially at the height of a pandemic that has ravaged low-income communities in our city. Albany must reverse this carve-out immediately and restore funding to the communities that need it the most. I am grateful that my colleagues in the City Council are going on record against what would be draconian cuts during a generational health crisis.”
HOUSING AND BUILDINGS
Improves tenant notification, interagency cooperation and inspections regarding lead paint construction work
Int. No. 874-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, would establish requirements to strengthen interagency communication, tenant notification, and inspections related to lead-based paint and lead dust hazards. First, this bill would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) to add certain information regarding lead dust hazards to existing pamphlets.
This bill would also expand existing DOHMH referral procedures where a child may have been exposed to lead to automatically refer such child to a medical provider for blood lead testing, regardless of whether a referral is requested by a parent or guardian. This bill would also require DOHMH to post a notice in the lobby of a building when, in the course of completing certain inspections, a lead hazard has been discovered in a common area. Building owners would be required to post additional notices on every floor.
This bill would also require statements of compliance with lead safe work practices as a condition of certain permit applications, and would require the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) to maintain records of all such permits. This bill would add lead safe work practices to the requirements of a Tenant Protection Plan, while also allowing DOB to issue a stop work order where DOHMH has made a referral based on unsafe lead work practices. Where DOB receives a complaint alleging the violation of the lead safe practices described in a tenant protection plan, this bill would require DOB to inspect within 24 hours, take dust wipes upon inspection, and refer such dust wipes and any hazardous conditions to DOHMH for inspection and analysis.
“Although incidents of lead poisoning have steadily decreased over the years, New York City’s lead guidelines still have not been up to par with CDC recommendations,” said Council MemberMargaret Chin. “Introduction 874 mandates immediate mitigation should lead be detected during any residential construction. Specifically, this bill pools resources between DOHMH and DOB to ensure that lead testing is done immediately on-site during renovations so that tenants are informed and accurate violations can be issued. This legislation also bolsters tenant safety and transparency by mandating postings alerting tenants of detected lead and requiring that contractors properly dispose of all lead-contaminated materials through a company certified in heavy metal safe removal. Every child deserves to live in a safe home free of environmental hazards and heavy metals. Passing Introduction 874 offers us a chance to protect our children and strengthen tenant safety protection plans. I am extremely pleased to see this bill come to a vote and I thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his leadership and the Committee Counsel staff for their hard work.”
Expands sustainable energy loan program
Int. 2170-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would amend the existing sustainable energy loan program, which generally limits financing to energy efficiency upgrades made to existing buildings, to extend financing to energy efficiency improvements made to new construction. It also defines real property to mean “any property, an interest in which is or is eligible to be recorded with the city register or the office of the Richmond county clerk by the possessor of such interest.”
“The greenest building is the one that’s built from the ground up with sustainability and efficiency measures in place,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “That’s why it’s so important that we use the tools we have to encourage sustainable design and construction. Int. 2170 will clarify that the city’s PACE program applies to new construction as well so that these buildings can access low-interest, long-term loans. I want to thank to Speaker Corey Johnson and his staff for their support in passing this bill.
RESILIENCY AND WATERFRONTS
Establishes climate resiliency design guidelines and resiliency scoring
Int. No. 2092-A, sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would require that the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability (OLTPS) develop climate resiliency design guidelines, informed by both the current guidelines and a five-year pilot program evaluating potential resiliency features in City capital projects. OLTPS, in consultation with other City agencies, environmental justice organizations, and members of the public with expertise in climate resiliency, climate design, the built environment, engineering and environmental justice issues, would then use the climate resiliency design guidelines to develop a climate resiliency score metric for capital projects. Such score would account for flooding risk, energy efficiency, energy resilience, green infrastructure, heat mitigation, resilient building materials and on-site water capture and management. Every City capital project above a threshold construction cost would be evaluated for its resiliency and be required to meet or exceed a minimum resiliency score.
“As a city on the sea, we are literally on the front lines of the fight to secure a livable climate,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “That’s why it’s so critical that we set resiliency standards for everything we build in New York City. With the passage of Int. 2092, the city must create resiliency guidelines and a scoring metric for projects that sets a minimum standard for resiliency that every subsequent project must meet. I want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson and Resiliency Chair Justin Brannan for their support in helping us reach this climate milestone.”
Adds additional freeboard for structures in the floodplain
Int. 2198-A, sponsored by Council Member Steven Matteo, would amend the building code to add additional freeboard for most newly constructed or substantially improved buildings located in the floodplain, providing additional floodproofing. Such buildings would be elevated an additional one-to-two feet, or by the 500-year flood elevation, depending on the type of structure.
“The devastation that Superstorm Sandy caused to our coastal communities was a wake up call for this city, and as we continue to renovate and rebuild our communities, we need to do what we can to prepare our building infrastructure for the next disaster,” said, Minority Leader CouncilMember Steven Matteo. “Intro 2198A will help us achieve that goal by ensuring utilities in new construction in flood zones are raised up to the ‘500 year storm standard,’ or at least an additional foot above the base flood elevation. I thank the Speaker for supporting this important bill and helping to make it a reality.”
CIVIL SERVICE AND LABOR
Creates a temporary early retirement program for public employees
Resolution 1563, sponsored by Alicka Ampry-Samuel, calls on the State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, S. 4170, and its companion bill, A.4548, which would authorize an early retirement system as described above. S. 4170 authorizes the creation of a temporary early retirement program for public employees who are age 55 or older, or who have worked 25 years of service. To be eligible for this program, an employee would need to be a member of the New York City teachers’ retirement program, the New York City Board of Education retirement program, or the New York City employees’ retirement program. Additionally, elected officials, chief administrative officers, and members of publicly appointed boards would not be eligible for the program.Such a program would allow for the state to achieve budgetary savings in light of the large deficit caused by the pandemic, which is estimated at roughly $5.25 billion. The resolution creates a similar early retirement incentive program to that enacted by the State in 2010, which is estimated to have saved the State roughly $681 million in labor costs.
Los Sures HDFC, in Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s district in Brooklyn, will receive a full, 40-year Article XI property tax exemption for the preservation of 124 units of affordable housing. The Council will also vote on the Council’s operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022.
42-11 9th Street – 42-11 9th Holdings LLC, seeks a zoning text amendment and a special permit to include the project area as a new Industrial Business Incentive Area to facilitate the development of a twenty-one story building, consisting of a two-story podium and 19- story tower above that will include required industrial, commercial and ground floor retail uses in Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s district. The Council will modify this application to include a third-party reporting requirement that ensures compliance with this special permit program to incentivize industrial uses.
1620 Cortelyou Road Rezoning – 1600/20 Realty Corp., seeks a proposed rezoning from an R6A/C2-4 to a R7D/C2-4 zoning district, and a related zoning text amendment to establish a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area Options 1 and 2. The Council will be modifying the MIH Options. As modified, the proposed actions would facilitate the development of a new nine-story mixed-use building with 80 housing units, including approximately 23 affordable housing units, and ground floor commercial uses as well as 44 accessory parking spaces on the cellar level, in Council Member Mathieu Eugene’s district.
9114 5th Avenue Rezoning – Bayride Realty LLC, seeks a zoning map amendment from C8-2 to an R7A/C2-4, to facilitate the development of a new nine-story plus cellar, mixed-use commercial and residential building with a total of 50 units of housing including 15 affordable units, in Council Justin Brannan’s district. The Council has modified this application to apply the R6A zoning on the lots of the three non-conforming residential buildings and to modify the MIH Options.
Sutter Avenue – East New York Partnership Homes – New York City Housing Preservation and Development seeks a UDAAP designation, project approval and disposition of the remaining portion of Block 4049, p/o lot 25. The proposed disposition would convey the remaining 424 sq. ft. portion of Lot 25 that the City still owns. The tax map will correctly reflect that the Nehemiah homeowner will have ownership of the rear 424 sq. ft. that they are using, in Council Member Inez Barron’s district.
91-32 63rd Drive Rezoning – 63-68 RWKOP LLC, seeks a zoning map amendment changing from an R4/C2-2 zoning district to an R7A/C2-3 district; and a zoning text amendment to establish a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area. The proposed actions would facilitate the development of a new nine-story, mixed-use Quality Housing building with approximately 74 units of housing, of which approximately 21 units will be permanently affordable. The building will include a commercial area in the first floor and additional parking, in Council Member Karen Koslowitz’s district.