Our neighborhoods are the cornerstones of our city. We’ve listened to your feedback in community-driven planning, passed laws to ensure buildings are safe and moved to protect commercial tenants from unscrupulous practices.
Ground-up planning produces better outcomes, as was the case in East Harlem and East New York. With the support of the Speaker, who represents District 8, East Harlem residents came together prior to the City’s application for a neighborhood rezoning. We also applied a holistic approach to planning in East New York. As a result, we supported a plan that balances a clear affordable housing and schools strategy, open space, and economic development.
In March of 2016, we adopted two historic proposals – Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. To meet diverse needs, we made significant changes to both proposals based on feedback from communities and organizations across the City.
A series of gas explosions in our city left New Yorkers without homes and resulted in the loss of lives. In response, the Council passed a legislative package requiring more frequent and stringent inspections of gas systems, stricter protocols for those working on gas piping, and better communication between building owners, gas companies, the City, and the public.
Coordination and communication among city agencies in partnership with a community is critical for successfully addressing quality-of-life issues. Last year, the Council passed a law creating neighborhood support teams for sustaining this type of approach. This measure was grounded in the Speaker’s convening of several agencies to collaboratively develop a thoughtful strategy to resolve quality-of-life issues on East 125th Street.
We understand that in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, residential buildings may be in violation of city codes because of circumstances beyond the building owner’s control. This is why the Council passed a package of bills preventing building owners from being held liable for civil or criminal penalties for violations received in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or while enrolled in a disaster recovery program or for violations for work done through a city-controlled recovery program.
Rapidly rising commercial rents can encourage unscrupulous landlords to harass tenants who pay lower rents than what a new tenant might be willing to pay. To address this harassment, the Council passed a law creating a private right of action so that commercial tenants have the opportunity to seek legal recourse when harassed by their landlords.
The Council has set a goal to decrease citywide greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. In an effort to move toward that goal, we passed legislation that will gradually increase the amount of biodiesel required in building heating oil from 2 percent to 20 percent. Biodiesel emits 50 percent to 90 percent less greenhouse gases than oil.
In 2016, the Council updated and strengthened the City’s green building laws to require new city-owned buildings to meet tougher energy standards and to extend the 2009 Greener, Greater Buildings Plan to more than 10,000 additional buildings.
Last year, we also secured an additional $100 million investment for Hudson River Park as a part of the development of the St. John’s Terminal Building on West Houston and West Street. This $100 million will be used to make urgently needed investments to the park and ensure that it continues to serve as an open space resource for millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike.
Through our Land Use and Finance Committees, the Council has supported the preservation and development of tens of thousands of affordable housing units. We’ve also protected historic neighborhoods by landmarking dozens of buildings across the City.
Bicycling is one of the most environmentally friendly and healthy forms of transportation. To encourage more New Yorkers to ride their bikes, we passed legislation expanding bicycle access in buildings.