Council also votes on citywide plan to reduce diabetes, improvements to homeless & foster care services, clarifying building codes & improving Green Building Law implementation, cleaning marine debris from city shores/waters, and recognizing Ramadan
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council voted on legislation to expand resources for the City’s high school students by codifying discount ferry rides and increasing access to IDNYC. Building on the Administration’s “NYC Ferry Forward” plan and IDNYC program, the Council’s legislation will require the inclusion of New York City high school students in the reduced ferry fare program and distribution of applications for the IDNYC identification card.
The Council also voted on bills that require the development and implementation of a citywide diabetes reduction plan, improvements at City homeless shelters and pre-foster care facilities, updating the Green Building Law, and the creation of an office to dispose of debris to maintain city shores. In addition, the Council also voted on resolutions recognizing Ramadan in New York City and calling on the State Legislature, and the Governor to sign, legislation expanding the New York State Returnable Container Act (the “Bottle Bill”).
“This Council has prioritized our youth through policies that help expand access to city resources,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Today’s legislation builds on the work we’ve accomplished to open more doors of opportunity for our students, who represent our future. I thank Council Members Farías and Joseph for their leadership, and all my colleagues for supporting these critical bills.”
Resources for High School Students
Committee on Economic Development
Introduction 236-A, sponsored by Council Member Amanda Farías, would codify New York City’s Ferry Discount Program to be no greater than half of the regular price fare, and extend it to city high school students. This would make students eligible for reduced ferry fare at the beginning of the next school year. The current regular fare is $4 and the discounted fare is $1.35.
“NYC public school students depend on us as a City to ensure we can get them to and from school efficiently and safely,” said Council Member Farías, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “We know what our students give daily – and how many of us experience commuting everyday – student transit options are essential. That is why I am proud to be the prime sponsor of Intro 236, which will guarantee the expansion of transit options beyond MetroCards for our city students, and ensure students have access to our NYC Ferry system and only pay for half-priced ferry tickets. This bill will increase transit equity citywide. allowing for more students to take the ferry and economically helping those who already do. My district continues to have some of the highest ferry ridership rates and the majority of those riders are Black and Latinx and working class. The ferry is New York City’s newest form of transportation and I’m excited to continue to make transit equity more of a reality for communities like mine in Council District 18 and everyday New Yorkers. This legislation prioritizes the needs of our students and ensures that NYC Ferry stays affordable for New Yorkers who use and rely on it the most.”
Committee on Education
Introduction 403-A sponsored by Council Member Rita Joseph, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to help high school students access IDNYC municipal identifications, providing them with information on the program, enrollment, and the application form. IDNYC cards are available to all residents aged 10 and up, regardless of immigration status and offer access to city services and benefits as well as museums, zoos and other attractions.
“The benefits IDNYC card holders have are unmatched!” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Committee on Education. “So I am happy to have passed Intro 403 with the support of my colleagues, which will require the DOE to distribute IDNYC applications to all high school students. With an IDNYC card, students will have access to over 35 cultural institutions and much more.”
Citywide Diabetes Reduction Plan
Committee on Health
Introduction 918-A, sponsored by Council Member Lynn Schulman, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop and implement a citywide diabetes incidence and impact reduction plan. DOHMH would be required to report annually on the number of adults with diabetes in New York City as well as its strategies and efforts to reduce the prevalence and impact of diabetes.
“We are in the process of recovering from the worst public health crisis of our lifetime, which caused severe illness and death for thousands of New Yorkers,” said Council Member Schulman, Chair of the Committee on Health. “Many of the devastating outcomes from COVID-19 resulted because of underlying medical conditions, especially diabetes. That is why I am extraordinarily proud that the Council will hold a vote today on Intro 918-A which will require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop and implement the first of its kind citywide type 2 diabetes reduction plan to improve the health of all New Yorkers.”
Homeless & Foster Care Services Improvements
Committee on General Welfare
Introduction 124-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, would help ensure that people sleeping in shelters operated by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) have access to housing specialists to help New Yorkers in shelters secure permanent housing.
Introduction 431-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, will require DHS to provide customer service training to all staff members and providers who are working with the public to protect the well-being of people experiencing homelessness. This bi-annual staff training will include techniques to improve professionalism, increase cultural sensitivity, implement a trauma-informed approach to interactions with shelter residents, and de-escalation.
‘Every New Yorker, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or income status, deserves to be treated in a dignified manner,’ said Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “For many in the City’s shelter network, the feeling of being filled with so much uncertainty while lacking a stable support system has made an already vulnerable situation feel that much more formidable. Introductions 124 and 431 aims to change that by creating an atmosphere in which shelter residents receive the utmost quality of care and services for what every New Yorker hopes to obtain; quality, permanent housing.’
Introduction 642-A, sponsored by Council Member Nantasha Williams, will require the Administration of Children Services (ACS) to post on their website and provide a quarterly report on the amount of time that children spend in The Nicholas Scopetta Children’s Center (a temporary residence for children coming into foster care) and other temporary placement facilities. Currently, there is little data on the facilities and the longer children remain in temporary facilities, the greater the likelihood of negative psychological impacts. Advocates have testified that children often spend weeks, or even months, in temporary placement facilities. Last year, ACS testified that 40 children at the Children’s Center have been there for more than 30 days, which was more than half of the total census at the time. This reporting requirement will help identify trends and make informed recommendations on these temporary placement facilities.
As a city, we have a responsibility to ensure that children and youth in our care are safe, healthy, and thriving,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “Between 2021 and 2022, the amount of children placed into the foster care system decreased by nearly 1%, as reported by Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families. In passing Int. 642A, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will be required to report to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council, quarterly, on the amount of time that children spend in temporary placement facilities, along with the age ranges of the children, and the amount of children placed into a facility for the first time. By providing this transparency, we can identify the necessary areas of improvement and work towards better outcomes for our children, in efforts to continually reduce the numbers and decrease the lengths of stay. This bill will not only benefit our children and families, but it will also improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government.
Green Building Law & Office Building-to-Residential Conversion
Committee on Housing and Buildings
Introduction 876-A, sponsored by Council Member Pierina Sanchez, would amend language in the existing Green Building Law to bring it in line with Local Laws 97 of 2019 and 154 of 2021. Various amendments include changing certain energy and consumption requirements, updating the definitions section, changing the baseline inflation year and streamlining administrative and reporting requirements.
“Int. 876 makes updates to Local Law 86 of 2005, requiring that certain city-owned and city-funded buildings be built to specific green design and performance standards, as set forth in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “This bill brings the existing law into alignment with updates that have been made since the bill’s passage, including updating the baseline inflation year, ensuring the most recent energy standards are being used, and streamlining administrative and reporting requirements. On the Housing and Buildings Committee, we work on matters of citywide importance such as addressing the housing crisis, and ministerial matters, such as ensuring congruence within our complex building codes. I always welcome opportunities to keep our technical codes organized and clean.”
Resolution 503-B, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, would call upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that allows for the conversion of commercial units to residential units, and creates the Affordable Housing from Commercial Conversions (AHCC) tax benefit program.
“After every crisis, New York City has reinvented itself. We have a historic opportunity to turn vacant office space into desperately needed housing – a proposal 74% of New Yorkers support,” said Council Member Justin Brannan. “We can chip away at multiple housing and economic crises all at once – our task force has laid out clear, detailed ways for us to do that. To get started, we just need Albany’s help.”
Maintaining the City’s Shores
Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency and Waterfronts
Introduction 210-A, sponsored by Council Member Joann Ariola and Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers, would help keep city waterways clean and clear by amending the New York City Charter to create a marine debris disposal and vessel surrendering office. This will make it easier to clear city shores of vessels, often abandoned in the outer boroughs, and environmental justice communities like Jamaica Bay, Coney Island, the Arthur Kill, and the Kill Van Kull.
“Int. 210 is vital towards enhancing the health and wellbeing of New York City’s waterways,” said Council Member Ariola. “By creating an office specifically for marine debris disposal and vessel surrendering, we can better streamline the services necessary for beautifying our waters while offering boat-owners viable alternatives to abandonment for their old or unwanted vessels.”
“The City has a responsibility to preserve the safety and the beauty of our waterfronts,” said Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “Abandoned vessels present ecological, recreational, and safety risks to residents in communities like mine. An Office of Marine Debris Disposal and Vessel Surrendering will empower the Administration to address this problem and remove dangerous debris from our shores. I thank my colleague, Councilwoman Ariola, for her partnership on this important piece of legislation.”
Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations
Resolution 515, sponsored by Council Members Nantasha Williams, Amanda Farías, Shekar Krishnan and Shahana K. Hanif, recognizes the month of Ramadan annually in the City of New York and celebrates the significant role of Muslims in the multicultural fabric of New York City communities. Ramadan is observed globally as a time of reflection, worship and fasting during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
“As a proud native of this diverse city and a Council Member to a large Muslim community, myself and my fellow colleagues—Council Members Farias, Krishnan and Hanif—are calling on the City of New York to finally recognize the significance of Ramadan for Muslims and the important role it plays within our communities,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “By introducing this resolution, we are highlighting and recognizing Muslim culture. You do not have to be Muslim to appreciate the significance of this holy month. Ramadan is not just about fasting, but also about being ‘God Conscious’, through constant remembrance of our creator. It brings our community together in a beautiful way, and I am honored to celebrate this holiday with my fellow New Yorkers.”
Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management
Resolution 167-A sponsored by Council Member Nurse calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, S237, legislation to expand and update New York’s 40-year-old container deposit law to include non-carbonated beverages, wine and liquor and to raise the deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, further incentivizing the removal of recyclable plastic and glass bottles from New York’s waste streams.
“The Bigger Better Bottle Bill will modernize a program that has proven to be highly effective – it reduces litter, increases recycling rates, and supports the Canning community. Senate Bill S237 will expand the types and number of beverage containers covered and increase the bottle deposit amount, said Council Member Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation & Solid Waste Management. “I am excited to advance Resolution 167-A and call on Governor Hochul and the State Legislature to pass this bill and take us one step closer to Zero Waste.”
Otis Elevator Building – 260 Eleventh Avenue – Circle 1 LLC seeks approval of a zoning text amendment to the Special West Chelsea Districtto allow for a lower street wall height to facilitate a mixed-use office and ground-floor retail development that will integrate and interconnect building segments to operate as a single building, in Council Member Erik Bottcher’s district.
521 East Tremont Avenue Rezoning – M521 Tremont LLC seeks a map amendment to rezone 521 East Tremont from C4-5X to C4-4D in the Bathgate neighborhood of the Bronx. The applicant is also seeking a zoning text amendment to designate a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area (MIH) in Appendix F of the Zoning Resolution, Option 1. These actions will facilitate the construction of a 14-story mixed use building with approximately 205 affordable units (including 61 units of supportive housing), ground floor commercial and community space and approximately 14 parking spaces, in Council Member Oswald Feliz’s district.
1880-1888 Coney Island Avenue Rezoning – These applications, relating to property in Council Member Kalman Yeger’s district, were withdrawn.
Transparency Resolution: Approving new designations and changes of certain organizations receiving funding in the Expense Budget.