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New Bills – Saving Middle-Income Housing and Improving Nightlife Safety

by Josh Burd, Oct 18, 2006
 

At each of the City Council's stated meetings, council members introduce bills, most of which will never become laws (for the process by which bills become laws, click here). As a regular feature, Gotham Gazette discusses some of the legislation proposed at each meeting.

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At its most recent stated meeting on October 11, the City Council introduced several bills and proposed resolutions dealing with affordable housing, nightlife safety, civil service, and Con Edison.

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING

With sales of large apartment complexes threatening to change the character of those developments, Councilmember Rosie Mendez introduced a bill that addresses the diminishing stock of low- and middle-income homes in the city. Intro 454 calls for a 120-day review period once a sale of any large-scale development is proposed. After conducting the review, the city’s housing preservation and development department would submit recommendations to the council and the mayor’s office on how to minimize the effects of any major sales, according to Mendez’s office.

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The bill had been prompted by MetLifes decision to sell Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village on Manhattan’s East Side. But the announcement on October 17 that Tishman Speyer was buying the developments for $5.4 billion presumably limits any impact the measure could have on that. Mendez’s office said she is still moving forward with the bill in order to prevent future large-scale real estate deals from moving ahead without the city’s input.

NIGHTLIFE SAFETY

In its continuing focus on New York’s nightlife, the council got its first piece of public safety legislation coming out of the nightlife summit held last month by Speaker Christine Quinn. Intro 455, by Councilmember Peter Vallone, would require clubs to hire one bouncer per every 75 patrons. There currently is no law on the number of bouncers required. The legislation is one of several pieces already introduced regarding club security personnel, including the “Bouncer Control Act” that was passed in August.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

Many city employees who started working after September 1986 are required by city law to live in the five boroughs. At the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Councilmember Joseph Addabbo introduced legislation to alter this residency requirement and allow more public workers to live in counties surrounding the city. Intro 452 would allow certain unionized employees to live in Nassau, Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland or Putnam county. The move to relax residency requirements comes as many city employees find it increasingly difficult to find affordable homes within the five boroughs.

CON EDISON

Just one day before Con Edison released a report that deflected blame for the blackout in Queens in July, the council urged the federal government to investigate the utility. Vallone, who criticized the report, proposed Resolution 551, which calls for the federal government to look into Con Ed’s past and present failures, including its questionable response after nearly 100,000 residents lost power for almost two weeks. The resolution also calls for the possibility of a federally appointed monitor for the company.

 


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