Council also passes legislation to expand public bathrooms and greenways
City Hall, NY – Today, the Council passed bills to increase support for survivors of domestic violence, reduce the City’s problem with rats, and to advance planning for the expansion of public bathrooms and greenways. The legislative package increasing services and providing resources for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, known as the “Support Survivors” package, comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It would require city agencies to establish a housing stability program for survivors and create an online portal and resource guide for survivors.
“Survivors of domestic and gender-based violence deserve our support and care as they heal,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “To promote their health and safety, we must work to create safe environments where survivors have access to the stability, resources, and assistance they need. The Council is focused on ending cycles of violence and addressing the trauma it causes, and the Support Survivors package advances solutions for those who need it most. I thank Chair Cabán for her leadership on these bills and all of our colleagues for their support.”
Introduction 153-A,sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán, would require the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), in consultation with the Department of Social Services (DSS) and community-based organizations, to establish a program to provide survivors of domestic and gender-based violence with a low-barrier grant and supportive services that would help survivors with expenses related to maintaining housing. The bill would also require ENDGBV to report on the program on an annual basis.
Introduction 154-A,sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán,would require ENDGBV to establish an online portal and a written resource guide of available services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence in New York City. The portal and guide would be available in the designated citywide languages. The guide would also be available in Braille. The portal would also include a clear and conspicuous link to any other relevant City-run websites and portals that provide information on survivor services located within the city, and a description of the types of such resources. The bill would also require ENDGBV to conduct outreach on the portal and guide and ensure the portal is secure and confidential to protect the privacy of survivors.
Resolution 111, sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán,would call upon New York State to pass legislation that would provide domestic violence survivors and their families with job-protected, paid leave, similar to that of New York State’s Paid Family Leave law, to be used for any activities relating to their actual or perceived status as a domestic violence survivor or family member of a domestic violence survivor.
“It’s time we did right by survivors,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “Along with my colleagues, I am committed to removing the barriers to accessing services that the Committee on Women and Gender Equity has found survivors face, as well as proactively establishing the programs that survivors say they need. The ‘Support Survivors’ legislative package is a bold step toward a city where survivors of violence can find healing, growth, and safety. For too long, this city has cynically used survivors’ trauma and pain merely as a pretext to ramp up policing, prosecution, and incarceration, leaving the actual survivors without access to the services and protections they need. No more.”
The Council also passed the Rat Action Plan, which requires the City to double-down on combatting rats by increasing rat mitigation efforts. New York City is currently experiencing a severe rat infestation problem. The increased number of rodents results in more property damage, food contamination and disease transmission as well as in an overall reduction in residents’ quality of life. These bills would address the everyday problems New Yorkers face when encountering rodents.
“Our neighborhoods have experienced the dramatic increase in rat infestations, a public health problem that has only intensified during the pandemic,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “We cannot allow rats to continue running wild through our communities. Today’s rat mitigation legislation will begin to effectively address this issue and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. This Council continues to lead with solutions that impact the health and safety of our residents, and I thank my colleagues for prioritizing this critical legislation.”
“Today, we declare that rats will no longer be the unofficial mascot of New York City. This Council is passing the Rat Action Plan as a response to the tens of thousands of rodent sightings and complaints made across the five boroughs,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “The Rat Action Plan will make significant progress toward making our city cleaner, with stronger rat mitigation activities and greater accountability. To continue our efforts against rats, I look forward to working with my Council colleagues on further legislation to achieve our city’s Zero Waste goals.”
Introduction 414-A, sponsored by Council Member Chi Ossé, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue an annual report on rat mitigation efforts in rat mitigation zones, submit the report to the Speaker of the Council and the Mayor, and make the report publicly available online. The report would describe the metrics DOHMH uses to measure the efficacy of rat mitigation in each zone as well as outreach efforts.
“Passing the Rat Package represents a major step in New York City’s government taking the lead in confronting the rodent infestation,” said Council Member Chi Ossé. “Rats constitute one of a few rare issues of universal consensus, as we all agree wholeheartedly that they do not belong in our streets or in our city. These bills will not be a silver bullet, but they will be a powerful weapon in this fight – one that today we can be more confident that we will win.”
Introduction 442-A, sponsored by Council Member Erik Bottcher, would require that before a permit authorizing certain construction work that is subject to rodent extermination is issued, the applicant certify that a licensed exterminator was retained to effectively treat the premises for rodent extermination.
“Construction causes enough issues without having to also worry about increased rat activity,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. “I’m proud that my bill with Borough President Mark Levine will ensure than rodent abatement is a part of any large construction project moving forward. I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this bill and Chair Nurse and Speaker Adams for supporting this entire package of legislation.”
Introduction 459-A, sponsored by Council Member Shaun Abreu, would require that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene designate by rule rat mitigation zones throughout the City. This bill would also provide that the Department of Sanitation may determine by rule the times during which buildings must set out their garbage and recycling for collection.
Introduction 460-A, sponsored by Council Member Shaun Abreu, would require that buildings that receive two or more rodent-specific housing maintenance code or two or more rodent-specific health code violations place their refuse in rodent-proof containers for at least two years. The bill would provide that the Department of Sanitation may waive this container requirement where it would cause an undue hardship or public safety hazard.
“We have achieved a monumental victory in humanity’s war against rats,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu. “New Yorkers will not have to fear as many rats hiding in late-night shadows, or more frequently, rampaging through our subway system and sidewalks without fear. Future generations will never understand why we let waste sit out for extended periods of time. Like the fax machine, typewriter, and blackberry, our current collection schedule will be seen as archaic, comical, and out-of-date. This was not an easy feat, but city-altering change never is. New Yorkers can rest easy knowing that we are fighting back.”
The Council also passed the following:
Introduction 258-A, sponsored by Council Member Rita Joseph, would require that the Mayor designate an agency or office to, in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Department of Parks and Recreation, report on feasible locations for public bathroom facilities across the City. This bill would also require that the agencies or offices responsible for such report incorporate public and community board input regarding locations suitable for public bathrooms.
“With the passage of Intro 258, we are taking an important step towards ensuring all New Yorkers have access to public restrooms,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “The City’s lack of public restrooms is multifaceted. It’s an issue of equity, public health, sanitation, and basic human rights. With the passage of the bill, we’re showing that New Yorkers want to live in a city where clean, readily accessible, public restrooms are a reality. Major thanks to Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine for his partnership on this legislation, as well as Transportation Chairwoman Brooks-Powers and Speaker Adams for their continued support and leadership.”
Introduction 291-A, sponsored by Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers and Council Member Carlina Rivera, would require the Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop a citywide greenway master plan, with the goal of achieving a comprehensive network of greenways. Under the legislation, these agencies would create a working group tasked with identifying locations feasible for development into greenways, establishing greenway design guidelines and identifying opportunities for integrating green infrastructure, and creating a list of early action greenway projects. The bill would also require that these agencies report annually on the implementation of the greenway plan, and engage with community boards on all proposals.
“New York’s greenways, like the popular Jamaica Bay Greenway offer safe, scenic rights of way for travel, exercise and recreation,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “The City must maintain, construct and invest in this vital infrastructure as we move towards an environmentally sustainable future. I’m pleased to partner with Councilwoman Carlina Rivera on this transformative piece of legislation to increase the use of micro-modal transportation and open spaces for all New Yorkers.”
“I look forward to the passage of my legislation which will mandate the City to create a greenways master plan,” Council Member Carlina Rivera. “A master plan will move New York City from a fragmented greenway system toward a more cohesive system that is developed faster and with accountability. A built-out system, to be enjoyed in all five boroughs, will expand the amount of recreational space to all New Yorkers, improving health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Construction and upgrades will also be a boon for the local economy, creating jobs and leveraging federal dollars.”
Ninth Street Rezoning – This will rezone a mid-block section of 9th street in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn within Community District 6 in Council Member Hanif’s district. It will also include a text amendment to designate an MIH Area and a mixed-use district. The project will facilitate the development of a five-story residential building with an estimated 22 units, 25 percent of which will be affordable under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. This outcome represents a compromise that balances citywide housing needs with community priorities by simultaneously advancing affordable housing and industrial preservation in the aftermath of the previously approved Gowanus neighborhood rezoning to create 8,500 units of housing, 3,000 of which will be affordable.
Gateway Site 26a and Phase 5 & UDAAP Amendment – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) requests designation and approval of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) and amendment to the Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Plan(FCURP). These actionswill facilitate a new 8 –story mixed use building with 191 affordable senior housing units, community facility and the development of nine four-story buildings with approximately 560 affordable housing units in the Spring Creek neighborhood of East New York, in Council Member Charles Barron’s district.
Morrisania Open Door – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) requests an Article XI tax exemption, a UDAAP approval and disposition of city-owned property to a developer selected by HPD to facilitatethe development of approximately 23 affordable homeownership units, in Council Member Althea Stevens’ district.
Morris Heights NCP – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) requests an Article XI tax exemption, a UDAAP approval and disposition of city-owned property to a developer selected by HPD to facilitatethe construction of two six-story residential buildings with approximately 28 affordable homeownership units, approximately 873 square feet of passive recreation space and laundry room, in Council Members Pierina Ana Sanchez’s and Althea Stevens’ districts.
Morrisania Claremont Village Open Door – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) requests an Article XI tax exemption and UDAAP approval, tax exemption and disposition of city-owned property to a developer selected by HPD to facilitate the development two family buildings with a total of 14 new units. It will include seven affordable homeownership units through the Open Door Program and seven affordable rental units, in Council Members Kevin Riley’s and Althea Stevens’ districts.
Transparency Resolution – Approving new designations and changes of certain organizations receiving funding in the Expense Budget.