The Council will also vote on plan to accommodate pets in homeless shelters
City Hall, NY – Building on last month’s package of bills to help ensure the survival of New York City restaurants, the Council will vote today to formalize measures taken to regulate third-party food delivery services by licensing the industry. This would make current regulations of the industry permanent, including caps on commission fees. Third-party food delivery services would obtain a license from the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection every two years, in order to do business in the City. These businesses would also be required to comply with previously passed legislation requiring them to share customer order data with restaurants fulfilling food orders, prohibiting them from listing restaurants on their platform without the restaurants’ permission, requiring them to list a restaurant’s brick-and-mortar telephone number on their platform, and finally prohibiting them from charging restaurants for telephone orders when a transaction did not take place.
Notably, the bill would make the current fee cap permanent, which prohibits charging restaurants more than 15% per order for delivery and more than 5% per order for all other fees, except for transaction fees (e.g., credit card swipe fees).
The Council will also vote on two pieces of legislation regarding co-sheltering for people experiencing homelessness and their pets. The first bill would require the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to develop a plan to accommodate pets of homeless individuals and families with the goal of allowing homeless pet-owners to keep their pets while in temporary shelters. The bill would also require that DHS work with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to address accommodating pets of those experiencing homelessness in shelter under DSS programs such as those in shelters for domestic violence survivors.
The second related bill would require DHS to post information on its website regarding the process for having a pet designated as an emotional support animal, and to regularly report information on how many individuals and families applied for shelter and reported they had a pet, as well as the placement or disposition of pets that belong to those entering shelters.
Another bill the Council will vote on concerning DHS and DSS comes in response to a February 2021 New York Times investigative report about the CEO of Bronx Parent Housing Network Victor Rivera, who sexually harassed and assaulted ten women including employees and women in the shelters. The bill would require DSS and DHS to provide trauma-informed, survivor-centered resources to contracted providers including a survivor resource guide and other training materials. It would also require the agencies to provide dedicated staff to investigate any complaints the agencies receive regarding gender-based harassment or sexual assault.
To help improve health outcomes for incarcerated pregnant people, the Council will vote to require the Department of Correction (DOC) to retain an organization to provide doula services during labor and delivery, as well as doula programming twice a week, including labor and birth education, breastfeeding techniques, and infant care.
In an effort to provide transparency and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, the Council will also vote on a bill that would require the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to annually report to the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability (OLTPS) on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for the portfolio of buildings owned or operated by NYCHA. Additionally, within 90 days after the adoption of the capital budget, the bill would require OLTPS to complete and post on its website the list of current and future capital projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city government operations, including an estimate of the expected reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, a project timeline, the total projected budget, and the schedule of planned commitments.
The Council will also vote to modernize the Consumer Protection Law (CPL) to ensure that it offers a robust enforcement tool against deceptive business practices, mostly by updating penalty amounts for the first time since 1969. Among other updates, the bill would also modernize the substantive provisions of the CPL by clarifying the agency’s power to combat online deceptive practices, including the failure of a business to provide translations of documents, other than receipts, for transactions that are predominantly negotiated in certain, commonly spoken languages other than English. This bill also includes technical and other cleanup amendments relating to Local Law No. 80 of this year, which the Council passed last month and that provides wide-ranging civil penalty and other substantive relief aimed at small businesses.
Last on the legislative agenda, the Council will vote to close a loophole that allows some street performers to operate beyond restricted zones throughout the City. The bill would create a Theatre District zone in Manhattan’s Theatre District where pedestrians would have space to safely travel, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) would establish designated areas within the Theatre District zone where people may engage in other activities, like commercial activities, performances, or vending.
Finally, the Council will vote on several land use matters.
Licenses third-party delivery services
Int. No. 1897-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Gjonaj, will require third-party food delivery services to obtain a license in order to do business in the City. Such services would be defined as “any website, mobile application or other internet service that: (i) offers or arranges for the sale of food and beverages prepared by, and the same-day delivery or same-day pickup of food and beverages from, a food service establishment; and (ii) that is owned and operated by a person other than the person who owns such food service establishment.” The definition would encompass services like Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.
The third-party food delivery services will be required to apply for a license with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) every two years for a fee of $200.
“This landmark legislative package will protect our small businesses from unfair practices that threaten their existence when they are the most vulnerable,” said Council Member Mark Gjonaj. “As we enter into the post-COVID recovery phase, we send a message to the city and the rest of the country that Silicon Valley must engage fairly with our small businesses or face consequences.”
To ensure compliance with the bill’s licensing scheme, the third-party food delivery services would be required to keep certain records, such as a list of restaurants on their platform, their written agreements with the restaurants, and documentation of the fees the services have charged restaurants. If a third-party food delivery service commits two or more violations of any provision of Proposed Int. No. 1897-A or the Preconsidered bill below, or makes a material false statement in connection with the license application, the Department could deny or refuse to renew the service’s license, or suspend or revoke their license.
Third-party food delivery services who violate the requirements in this bill would also be subject to civil penalties of $500 per restaurant per day, or $1000 per restaurant per day if the cap on commission fees in the Preconsidered bill described below is exceeded. The City would be empowered to seek restitution on behalf of a restaurant against which a violation is committed.
The third-party food delivery services would also be subject to civil action from the City or any person against whom a violation was committed. DCWP would be required to conduct culturally appropriate outreach to restaurants and third-party food delivery services for a period of 90 days, no more than 60 days after the bill becomes law, on the provisions of the bill.
The bill would take effect 120 days after becoming law.
Makes third-party delivery services fee cap permanent
Int. No. 2390, sponsored by Council Member Moya, will permanently and unconditionally extend the cap set forth in the Council’s previous legislation, with some enhancements.
Before the Council passed Local Laws 52 and 88 of 2020, and Int. No. 2359-A, which regulated third-party food delivery service commission fees, the services could charge restaurants commission fees as high as 30% or more for each order placed through their websites, depending on the package chosen by the restaurant. The average restaurant profit margin is said to be somewhere between 2-6%.
This bill would prohibit the services from charging restaurants more than 15% per order for delivery and more than 5% per order for all other fees, except for transaction fees (for example credit card swipe fees). It would prohibit the services from charging more than 3% per order for transaction fees, except that it would allow for a higher charge if the third-party food delivery service could provide proof upon request to both DCWP, and the relevant food service establishment, that such higher fee reflects a pass-through charge imposed by a credit card company or internet-based payment system.
This bill would also require the DCWPto submit a report to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council every two years – beginning no later than September 30, 2023 – recommending either the maintenance or adjustment of this bill’s cap on fees, by looking at factors such as the effect of the cap on third-party food delivery services and food service establishments; whether the cap affects delivery workers’ wages and working conditions; the products provided by third-party food delivery services for listing, processing and marketing; and figures related to the bill’s subchapter such as the number of complaints and violations, total amount of penalties imposed and the amount of restitution recovered.
“Even before the pandemic began, it was clear that protecting the jobs and businesses of New Yorkers in the service industry was vital to our cities economic success. As we continue to tackle the rollercoaster that is COVID-19, our commitment to protect the restaurant industry and its workers remains steadfast. We are not here to enable billion dollar companies and their investors to get richer at the expense of restaurants. By limiting, without expiration, the fees charged to restaurants by third-party food delivery services, we are ensuring that mom-and-pop shops have a real opportunity to recover and thrive. This is one example of how we stand with businesses and their workers. I am grateful to the Speaker and my colleagues in the Council for being a part of this fight with securing these protections,” said NYC Council Member Francisco Moya, who represents District 21 in Queens.
This bill would take effect at the same time as Int. No. 1897-A takes effect.
Addresses gender-based harassment and sexual assault
Int. No. 2284-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, will require the Department of Social Services to deliver a survivor-centered response to complaints of sexual assault or harassment made by a client or staff of a DSS or Department of Homeless (DHS) provider. DSS will be required to offer sexual assault and harassment resources to each survivor, follow-up with each survivor as appropriate and review each complaint to assess the next steps. The bill would require the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence to develop a survivor resource guide and provide the guide to DSS. DSS would be required to post the survivor guide and other training resources on its website, and make such materials available to contracted providers.
“Today we are putting City-funded social service providers, and the City itself, on notice. Sexual harassment, abuse and/or assault are unacceptable, and we will act when New Yorkers report an incident involving a Dept of Social Services contracted provider. Going forward, the DSS must provide a “survivor-centric” response to anyone who reports an incident with a provider, and it must closely track any reports it receives and whether survivors entered into any settlement agreements. It’s tragic that we have to introduce this legislation but protecting our most vulnerable residents is paramount,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
On February 7, 2021, the New York Times released an investigative report into dealings of Victor Rivera, the CEO of Bronx Parent Housing Network (“BPHN”), a City-contracted shelter provider. The Times found that Mr. Rivera had sexually harassed and assaulted 10 women, including former employees and women staying in shelters. In 2017, a woman who lived in one of Mr. Rivera’s shelters made a harassment complaint to 311, which alerted the Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS officials sent the complaint back to BPHN to investigate, which determined it was “unfounded due to lack of evidence.” In response to the Times investigation, DSS stated that, “the complaint was not appropriately handled and should have been independently investigated.”
In addition, the bill will further require DSS to review whether a provider has entered a settlement in response to a complaint, or other actions taken in response to complaints. DSS would be required to submit an annual report to the Speaker of the Council on any steps taken to establish procedures pursuant to this bill. Finally, DHS would be required to provide resources, information, outreach materials and online training resources compiled by DSS to DHS’ contracted providers.
The bill would take effect 120 days after becoming law.
Accommodate pets in shelters
Int. No. 1483-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, will require the Department of Homeless Services to develop a plan to accommodate pets of homeless individuals and families with the objective of allowing homeless pet-owners to keep their pets. Such plan would include, for example, the steps DHS can take to prioritize the acquisition of facilities that will permit homeless pet-owners to keep their pets, as well as identifying existing providers that will permit homeless pet-owners to keep their pets.
One barrier to entering shelter is limited to no access to co-sheltering. Co-sheltering, or the sheltering of people and animals together at the same emergency or temporary housing facility, is a critical solution to bringing humans experiencing homelessness and their companion animals inside together, thereby reducing the overall number of street homeless that do not access existing services.
“Today is an exciting day in the Council, thank you to Speaker Johnson for bringing these critical bills to a vote. This legislation came about after hearing from constituents directly about the barriers they face in accessing shelter and I am proud to see the concrete change these bills will make for New Yorkers. The experience of homelessness is traumatic and challenging enough — the prospect of parting with a pet shouldn’t be a contributing factor to such hardship. Our pets are our families and expanding access to shelter makes it possible for more New Yorkers to safely enter shelter and leave unsafe situations by being able to keep their companion animals with them. I look forward to continuing to reduce barriers to shelter by better accommodating those experiencing homelessness with pets. Thank you to the advocates and impacted individuals who fought so hard for this legislation,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.
There are models across the country for successfully co- sheltering humans with their animals, yet Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters do not accommodate pets. Pet owners who seek shelter services face the difficult problem of finding temporary pet care solutions, surrendering their pets to an animal shelter, or forgoing shelter services altogether.
Additionally, the bill would require that DHS submit the plan to the Speaker of the Council no later than 180 days after the effective date of this bill. The bill would also require that DHS collaborate with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to outline steps to address accommodating pets of homeless individuals and families in shelter under DSS programs such as those in shelters for domestic violence survivors.
This bill would take effect immediately.
Provides information about pets whose owners are in shelters
Int. No. 1484-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, will require the Department of Homeless Services to post information on its website regarding the process for having a pet designated as an emotional support animal, and to report, every three months, information on how many individuals and families applied for shelter and reported they had a pet, as well as the placement or disposition of pets that belong to people who enter homeless shelters.
Finally, the bill will require the Department of Homeless Services to develop a questionnaire to obtain the information required to be reported.
This bill would take effect immediately.
Creates theater district zone
Int. No. 1811-A, sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers and the Speaker, will create a Theatre District zone around Times Square in Manhattan, where the Department of Transportation would redesign sidewalks to facilitate the safe travel of pedestrians.
Commercial activity – such as solicitation carried out by costumed characters, CD sellers and others – on the sidewalks around Times Square presents a significant problem for the safe flow of pedestrian traffic through one of the City’s most congested neighborhoods. Sidewalks and subway entrances are often obstructed, and entering or exiting theaters, offices, restaurants and other establishments can be difficult. Commercial activity on sidewalks in the area also presents an especially serious problem for people with disabilities, and has contributed to recent safety incidents around Times Square. In order to ensure residents and post-Covid visitors to the area feel safe and comfortable, it is crucial that order is brought to the sidewalks surrounding the Times Square pedestrian plaza.
“As we welcome New Yorkers and tourists back to Times Square, it’s important that the experience is enjoyable and comfortable for all,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “I’m proud to sponsor legislation to improve the pedestrian experience in Times Square. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and Mayor de Blasio for their support on this issue.”
Int. 1811-A would expand upon the successful strategies used by the Department of Transportation in the Times Square pedestrian plaza by implementing them on neighboring streets within a newly created “theater district zone”. The bill would mandate that DOT create “pedestrian flow zones” that allow for the safe passage of pedestrians where necessary to accommodate the demand for pedestrian space and “designated activity zones” that maintain space for commercial activity.
The bill would take effect 60 days after becoming law.
Requires the Department of Correction to provide doula services
There are a number of pregnant individuals incarcerated in city jails, and the women’s facility on Rikers Island has a nursery in which pregnant individuals and those with infants are housed.
Int. No. 1209-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, will require the Department of Correction to retain an organization to provide doula services during labor and delivery, as well as doula programming twice a week, including labor and birth education, breastfeeding techniques, and infant care.
The Department of Correction will be required to issue a report every six months regarding the delivery of doula services. This bill would also create a working group to review relevant reports and discuss ways to improve communication, collaboration, and efficiency related to pregnant individuals in custody.
“By increasing critical maternal health services for women incarcerated on Rikers Island, we are fighting to ensure a better future for them and their families. Intro 1209 will be one of the first local laws in the U.S. to mandate free, comprehensive, and ongoing doula services in a correctional system — and the doulas will be paid for by local government. Mandating these services is part of an ongoing, multi-pronged effort by the City Council to combat maternal mortality and morbidity in NYC, especially among communities of color,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
The bill would take effect 120 days after becoming law.
Modernizes the Consumer Protection Law
Int. No. 1622-A, sponsored by Council Member Margaret Chin, will modernize the Consumer Protection Law to ensure that the CPL continues to be a robust enforcement tool against deceptive business practices.
The bill would update the penalty amounts, which have not been updated since 1969, to make them more appropriate to businesses operating in 2021.
For example, most violations of the current law are punishable by a civil penalty of $50-350, but to keep up with inflation, would now be $350-2,500 in this bill. Similarly, knowing violations and third violations of the same Consumer Protection Law section in a three-year period would be punishable by a civil penalty or fine of $3,500, or both.
The bill would make explicit that Department of Consumer and Worker Protection can seek daily penalties for deceptive conduct, or alternatively, can base penalties on the number of consumers reached by a deceptive practice, if the individual who engaged in the deceptive business practice knew or should have known that the practice was deceptive. It would also modernize the substantive provisions of the Consumer Protection Law by clarifying the agency’s power to combat online deceptive practices and defining as deceptive the failure of a business to provide translations of documents, other than receipts, for transactions that are predominantly negotiated in certain, commonly spoken languages other than English.
This bill would also empower the Corporation Counsel to issue subpoenas to enforce the CPL, and would make explicit for the first time the forms of relief the agency can seek under the CPL at OATH, including restitution. And, it would allow the agency to initiate a state court case through the more streamlined process of a proceeding.
This bill would also:
1. Reinstate the licensing scheme for industrial laundries and businesses that engage in industrial laundry delivery, involving in part the repeal of section 20-635 of the Administrative Code relating to lowered civil penalties applicable to laundry businesses;
2. Create a new subchapter in chapter 4 of title 20 of the Administrative Code to regulate retail laundries and to house civil penalties and penalty relief for retail laundries;
3. Codify a $500 civil penalty, which exists in the Rules of the City of New York, for persons who assault, menace, imprison or harass DCWP personnel;
4. Codify a requirement, which exists in the Rules of the City of New York and the violation of which would result in a $500 civil penalty pursuant to Local Law No. 80 for 2021, that amusement operators inform DCWP of any accidents;
5. Make technical corrections in title 20 of the Administrative Code; and
6. In section 109 of Local Law No. 80 for 2021, correct a typographical error, establish the Chief Administrative Law Judge of OATH as a rulemaking entity for sections 36-41 of such local law, and make rulemaking prior to the effective date of sections 36-41 of such local law permissive instead of mandatory.
This bill would take effect 120 days after it becomes law, except sections 2, 4, 5 and 18 through 20 would take effect on the same date sections 35, 45, 46, 89, 94 and 96 of Local Law No. 80 for 2021 take effect; sections 3 and 21 would take effect immediately; sections 6 through 11, 13 and 14 would take effect on the same date sections 53 through 59 of Local Law No. 80 for 2021 take effect; and section 12 would take effect on the same date section 39 of Local Law No. 80 for 2021 takes effect.
Reports on greenhouse gas emissions
Int. No. 2283-A, sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, will require that the New York city housing authority (NYCHA) report to the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for the portfolio of buildings owned or operated by NYCHA by December 1, 2022, and no later than every December 1 thereafter, for the prior calendar year.
The bill is aimed at trying to provide transparency and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City.
Under this legislation, the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability shall include in the annual report on green building standards, due by December 1 each year, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from capital projects involving buildings that are owned or operated by NYCHA.
This local law would also amend the reporting date required by Local Law 22 of 2008 for the inventory and analysis of citywide emissions and city government emissions. The reporting date will be amended from September 17 to November 15 of each year.
This new date would better align reporting with the timelines in which finalized data is received, and thus provide for a better inventory and analysis of citywide emissions and city government emissions. The reporting date will be amended to provide certainty in the carbon intensity of the electric supply that impacts emissions from buildings. The local law would also amend the reporting date of relevant actions taken by the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, including programs developed as well as education and outreach activities, from September 17 to November 15 of each year.
Finally, within 90 days after the adoption of the capital budget, the local law would require the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability to complete and post on its website a list of current and future capital projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city government operations, and, for each such project, an estimate of the expected reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, a project timeline, the total projected budget, and the schedule of planned commitments.
“Buildings account for approximately two-thirds of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, and Local Law 97 of 2019 is absolutely critical to fighting climate change by requiring drastic reductions in these emissions. Today we are taking action to make this law even stronger by 1.) ensuring that the City of New York is following the same rigorous standards already being enforced in the private sector; and 2.) including NYCHA properties within the purview of the law for the first time. We have a tremendous responsibility to take action on climate change while we still can and I am proud that we are doing so today,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
The bill would take effect on January 1, 2022.
310 East 4th Street in Council Member Carlina Rivera’s district in Manhattan will receive a full, 40-year Article XI property tax exemption to preserve 16 units of affordable housing.
Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz – Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of a cultural, social and religious anchor for the Latino community, located at 715 West 179th Street in Washington Heights, in Council Member Ydanis Rodriquez’s district.
Educational Building, 70 Fifth Avenue – Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of a Beaux-Arts style building built in 1912-14. It is historically significant as the former home of the national office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as many impactful organizations that worked for social justice and equality. These include the American Union Against Militarism, who founded here the National Civil Liberties Bureau (later ACLU), the Bureau of Legal First Aid, the League for Industrial Democracy, the Church Peace Union, the National Board of Censorship in Motion Pictures (later National Board of Review), the National Child Welfare Association, New York Teachers Union, the Women’s Peace Party, as well as many book and magazine publishers. Its legacy is now carried on by the New School for Social Research that acquired the building in 1972 in Speaker Corey Johnson’s district.
TBX 1002 MBD – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) seeks a UDAAP and Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the disposition of 970 Anderson Avenue, a nine-unit building with 8 occupied residential units and one vacant dwelling unit, and 1105 Tinton Avenue, a 45-unit building with 16 occupied residential units and 29 vacant dwelling units and one commercial space containing a grocery store, to MBD New Heights Apartments Housing Development Fund. The two buildings will be clustered and financed with two additional buildings, which receive prior approvals, totaling 68 residential units in an affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation package under HPD’s Multifamily Preservation Loan Program in Council Members Diana Ayala and Vanessa Gibson’s districts.
TBK1002 Riseboro – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) seeks a UDAAP and Article XI tax exemption to facilitate the disposition of 135 Menahan Street, a vacant six-unit building, to non-profit community developer Riseboro Community Partnership. 135 Menahan is proposed to be grouped with six other area buildings totaling 64 affordable units in a housing preservation and rehabilitation package under HPD’s Multifamily Preservation Loan Program in Council Member Darma V. Diaz’s district.
Beach 67th Street Rezoning – Brisa Builders Development, LLC and God’s Battalion of Prayer Properties, requests approval of zoning map amendment to rezone 450, 444, 442, 438, 432, 430 and 426 Beach 67th Street and 430 Beach 68th Street, in the Arverne neighborhood of Queens Community District 14 on the Rockaway Peninsula, from an R4A zoning district to an R6 zoning district. The zoning map amendment will facilitate the development of a nine-story building with 84 affordable units for seniors, and an eleven-story charter school.The Battalion Pentecostal Assembly Church will remain on the site, in Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers’ district.
133 Beach 116th Street Overlay Rezoning – Beach 116th Associates LLC, requests approval of a zoning map amendment to rezone the midblock of the eastern half of block 16226 from R7A/C1-3 to R7A/C2-4. The rezoning will facilitate a wider variety of local retail uses within the newly constructed as-of-right development. The new commercial overlay also allows for the applicant to apply for a BSA special permit to open a gym, in Council Member Eric Ulrich’s district.