The Council will also vote on bills to regulate moped industry
City Hall – With plastic waste wreaking havoc on our planet, the New York City Council is further proving its commitment to reducing plastic waste in our City landfills. Members will vote on a bill to prohibit food service establishments from providing single-use plastic straws, stirrers and splash sticks to customers who don’t ask for them. Plastic straws, which people with disabilities often need, would still be available to those who ask. By making customers pro-actively ask for straws, we will dramatically reduce the amount of single use plastic being used in the largest city in the country. Each year, at least eight million tons of plastic leak into the ocean. If we don’t change our behavior, the World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
The Council will also vote on a bill to create food waste prevention programs in our public schools. The bill would require the Chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) to work with school sustainability coordinators to craft food waste production plans, consistent with a bill the Council recently passed to require that all city agencies with food procurement contracts develop and implement plans to do the same.
Additionally, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of mopeds on City streets, but the Department of Transportation (DOT) currently lacks the authority to regulate them. That’s why the Council will vote on a bill to prohibit the operation of a moped share system without DOT approval and require that system operators obtain a permit for each moped in their fleet.
Given the recent rise in acts of vandalism against houses of worship in New York City, the Council will additionally vote on a bill to increase the penalties for the criminal defacement of houses of worship.
The Council will also vote on a bill to improve the location accuracy of the 311 intake map. The bill would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) to consistently assess the interactive map on the 311 website and mobile applications used for 311 service request and complaint intake, ensuring optimal functionality.
The Council will also vote on a Resolution calling on the United States Congress to pass and the President to sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. The federal legislation would facilitate expedited reviews of COVID-19 related hate crimes. The need is urgent: 35 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported so far this year in New York City alone, compared to 28 in all of 2020, and just 3 in 2019.
Finally, the Council will vote on several land use items.
Reduces single-use plastic straws, stirrers and splash sticks
Int. No. 936-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, will reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our city’s landfill. Each year more than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed worldwide. Plastic in landfills can take centuries to break down and finds its way into our oceans each year at an estimated rate of one garbage truck full per minute, endangering fish and aquatic wildlife. This bill would restrict food service establishments in the City from providing plastic straws, stirrers and splash sticks, all of which typically go to landfill and are not effectively recycled.
Providing single-use plastic stirrers and splash sticks of any kind would be prohibited. Providing plastic straws would also be prohibited. However, to balance the environmental benefits of reducing plastic with the needs of people with disabilities who use plastic straws to consume food and beverages, the bill requires that all food service establishments maintain a sufficient stock of plastic straws to provide free of charge, upon request. To further accommodate those who use plastic straws based on medical need, signs will be posted in self-service stations where customers typically retrieve their own utensils, informing the public that they may request a plastic straw.
Providing single-use plastics in violation of this bill would result in civil penalties, while refusing to provide a plastic straw upon request could constitute a violation of the City’s Human Rights Law.
The bill would permit distribution of compostable plastic straws for use on-premises, but only if the food service establishment properly separates and disposes of those straws through a commercial composting provider.
“Plastic waste is gravely polluting our oceans and waterways, threatening the health of wildlife and humans alike. This includes millions upon millions of straws, and limiting their use is a simple but very important step. At the same time, it is absolutely fundamental that we protect the civil rights and independence of our disability community. The ability to request a plastic straw is a critical protection for disabled customers who need them to eat and/or drink. Our disability community worked closely with environmentalists, the restaurant industry, and the City Council to ensure that the legislation being voted on today protects the rights of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
This bill would go into effect on November 1, 2021.
Requires the Department of Education to develop a plan for reducing food waste
Int 1681-A, sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer would require the Chancellor of the Department of Education (DOE) to work with school sustainability coordinators to develop a plan for reducing food waste. This plan would be submitted to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for recommendations, as well as the Speaker of the Council. The bill would require DOE to submit an annual report with information on DOE’s actions to implement its food waste prevention plan and the Chancellor’s updates to such plan. DSNY shall include the information contained in the report as part of the department’s March 1, 2022 annual recycling report.
“The Department of Education must confront food waste in order to create a more environmentally sustainable City,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “Food waste prevention plans will help cut the amount of excess food our schools and city sends to land fill, finding ways to instead donate, compost, and reduce surplus. These plans are a step towards more sustainable schools system and a less wasteful New York.”
This bill goes into effect 90 days after it becomes law.
Regulates moped share systems
Int. 2061-A, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, will prohibit the operation of a moped share system without DOT approval, and require that system operators obtain a permit for each moped in their fleet. Mopeds used in an approved system would be limited to those that are incapable of exceeding 30 miles per hour. The bill would also require DOT to promulgate rules governing the safety and equity of such systems, and would provide for penalties and impoundment for unauthorized mopeds.
Moped share systems, such as the service operated by Revel, consist of fleets of limited-use motorcycles (“mopeds”) parked on the street and made available to the public for rental. In the last year, the number of these devices on City streets has increased dramatically – a trend that will continue as new companies have recently entered the market. Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) lacks the authority to regulate such systems, and no City permit is required for any moped.
“I am proud to be working alongside Speaker Corey Johnson, Congressman Espaillat, the DOT, advocates, and colleagues as we continue improving the safety of mopeds. Intro 2201-A will allow the Department of Transportation to regulate moped sharing services making them safer for all riders. I believe it is crucial that we balance our goal of expanding access to alternative modes of transportation with concern for the safety of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “We must continue exploring initiatives that will keep pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders safe.”
This bill would take effect 120 days after it becomes law.
Increases penalties for damages to houses of religious worship
Int. 2108-A, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, will increase the penalties for the crime of criminal defacement of houses of worship. The bill doubles the minimum fine from $500 to $1,000. The bill would take effect 60 days after it became law.
Acts of vandalism against houses of worship in the city are on the rise, including four instances involving synagogues in Riverdale.
Calls for Congress to pass COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
Res. No. 1619, sponsored by Council Member Peter Koo, calls on Congress to pass and the President to sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, (H.R. 1843/S.937), which would enhance such efforts at the federal level by: (1) designating an officer or employee of the Justice Department to facilitate expedited review of COVID-19 hate crimes reported to federal, state, and/or local law enforcement; (2) issue guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies to establish online reporting of hate crimes/incidents available in multiple languages, and expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, and collection of data and public reporting of hate crimes; and (3) issue guidance describing best practices to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a sharp increase in the number of reported hate crimes and bias incidents against Asian Americans in New York City and nationwide. 35 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported so far this year in New York City, compared to 28 during all of 2020, which itself was a jump from just 3 in 2019.
“As our nation continues to grapple with an onslaught of anti-Asian hate crimes, it is imperative that we support federal legislation that will offer guidance to localities with little experience in dealing with the Asian communities,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will be the first step on our nation’s long road to recovery from both the pandemic and the discrimination and racism that has become far too prevalent in our culture.”
Requires 311 intake map
Proposed Int. No. 1755–A, in relation to an assessment of the 311 service request intake map
Int. 1755-A, sponsored by Robert Holden, requires the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (“DOITT”) to conduct an assessment of the interactive map functionality through the 311 website and the mobile device applications that are used for the intake of 311 service requests and complaints, with the goal of improving the location accuracy of the 311 intake map. DOITT would also be required to submit a report of the results of the assessment to the Council.
Both the 311 website and the 311 mobile applications have an interactive map functionality or address lookup option. However, these mapping functionalities do not assist the user well. For example, it is impossible to select a location on the mobile application unless the exact address is known.
“Apart from calling a Council Member’s office, 311 is the most direct way New Yorkers can interact with city government and get results,” said Council Member Robert Holden, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “Technology should be leveraged to address shortcomings, and the city must embrace modernization whenever possible. Intro 1755 will improve the accuracy of the 311 system and make it even better.”
This local law would take effect immediately and be deemed repealed upon the submission of the report required this local law.
Penn South, in Speaker Corey Johnson’s district in Manhattan, will receive a five-year extension of its partial, Article V property tax exemption to preserve 2,820 units of affordable cooperative housing.
Seagirt Senior Houses, in Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers’ district in Queens, will receive a partial, 40-year Article XI property tax exemption for the preservation of 151 units of affordable senior housing.
142-150 South Portland Ave. Article XI Amendment – NYC HPD seeks an amendment to a previously approved Article XI tax exemption to facilitate a proposed affordable housing development at 142-150 South Portland Avenue in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 2018, the Council approved a zoning map amendment from R7A to R8A, text amendment to establish an MIH Area, and Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the development of a 13-story mixed-use residential and community facility building with a total of 104 residential units by South Portland LLC (a partnership of MDG Development Group and the Hanson Place Seventh-day Adventist Church), in Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo’s district.
97 W 169th Street – is a New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development UDAAP application in Council Member Vanessa Gibson’s district, that will facilitate the development of a nine-story mixed-use building, including approximately 104 affordable housing units for low-income seniors.
Harriet and Thomas Truesdell House – Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of the former home of two Brooklyn abolitionist who resided there for more than a decade prior to the Civil War, in Council Member Stephen Levin’s district.
Sendero Verde – a New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development application to amend a UDAAP and Article XI Tax Exemption, that will facilitate Phase 2 of the project to develop a mixed used building with approximately 707 housing units of which 347 would be affordable, 6,213 square feet of commercial space, 87,278 square feet of community facility space and 1,887 square feet of publicly accessible open space, inCouncil Member Diana Ayala’s district.
Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency includes modifications to the applicable geography based on the updated floodplain, changes to building envelope and design, location of permitted uses within buildings, and placement of permitted obstruction regulations. It also includes provisions to modify existing special permits granted by the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to facilitate resiliency investments in unique conditions, and a future discretionary special permit authorized by the City Planning Commission (CPC) to facilitate recovery efforts from future disasters. To address concerns regarding vulnerable uses in the floodplain, the Proposed Action will also limit nursing homes within the 1% floodplain and certain other areas.
Resilient Neighborhoods: Gerritsen Beach, Special Sheepshead Bay District, and Old Howard Beach – The Department of City Planning applications in Council Members Alan Maisel and Eric Ulrich districts, and the 48th Council District, to facilitate resilient construction to limit the future density in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding, establish regulations in the Special District with flood-resilient buildings and provide higher quality open space design standards.
86 Fleet Place Text Amendment – Red Apple 86 Fleet Place Development LLC, seek a zoning text amendment to the Special Downtown Brooklyn District to broaden the definition of the allowed uses in the Special Ground Floor Use areas of its completed development at 86 Fleet Place. The text amendment would broaden this definition to “all non-residential uses permitted by the underlying district” and only apply to the 86 Fleet Place development site- and allow 10,000 square feet of retail space to be used for community facilities such as medical and educational uses, which are not currently permitted, in Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo’s district.
68-19 Woodhaven Blvd. Rezoning – 68-19 Rego Park LLC, seeks a zoning map amendment changing from C8-1 and R4 zoning districts to R6A and R6A/C2-3 zoning districts property bounded by Woodhaven Blvd, a zoning text amendment of Zoning Resolution Appendix F: Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Areas to establish the Project Area as an MIH Area to facilitate the development of a new seven-story building with approximately 92 housing units, of which 26 units would be permanently affordable, in Council Member Karen Koslowitz’s district.