After approving the
rezoning plan in the city’s history at its stated meeting on September
10, several City Council members introduced legislation to take care of smaller,
quality of life issues, such as regulating curb cuts, air conditioners and trees
on construction sites.
Curbing Extra Curbing
Since 2004, Councilmember Vincent Gentile has introduced legislation twice calling
for the restoration of curbs that have been illegally cut - which eliminate parking
spots and allow cars to enter driveways - as well as for the notification of
community boards when a construction project plans to propose one. Each time
the legislation has stalled in the council’s transportation committee.
But he is trying again. Gentile, who represents Bay Ridge, often sees parking
spots whither away as curb space is taken over by extra large driveways for particular
residences, said his spokesman Eric Kuo. Under legislation introduced with Councilmember
Domenic Recchia at the council’s stated meeting on September 10,
619), applications for curb cut permits to the Department of Buildings
would have to be examined and forwarded to community boards for review.
When someone does an illegal curb cut that takes away another parking space," said
Kuo. "The intent is to get rid of illegal curb cuts. It's already been a
big problem in our neighborhoods in Bay Ridge."
In companion legislation introduced by Gentile and Recchia,
620) residents could be fined for illegal curb cuts on their property.
When illegal curb cuts are found, according to the bill, the Department of Transportation
would require property owners to restore the curb or cover the cost for the department
to do so. Kuo could not estimate how much the fines for such restoration would
According to the legislation, it is unclear how the transportation department
would be notified of illegal curb cuts or how the restoration would be enforced.
Kuo said they would work with the community and the council's transportation
committee staff to work out the details.
Conditions for Air Conditioners
When residents of her Upper West Side district were reportedly ticketed for not
using brackets to support air conditioners,
Councilmember Gale Brewer introduced legislation that would clarify when brackets
would be necessary.
618) requires brackets be installed when air conditioners cannot otherwise
be safely attached to building facades. Because of new technology and updated
units, brackets are often unnecessary.
Trees At Construction Sites
Councilmember Michael McMahon also introduced legislation
621) that mandates that trees larger than a six-inch diameter be protected
during construction. When construction occurs on any building, curb, sidewalk
or roadway a protective guard would have to be erected around the tree, under
the new bill.
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