New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Housing and Buildings

Introduction 1487-2017: Privately Owned Public Spaces Fines for Owners in Violation

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to penalties for violations of conditions and restrictions on privately owned public spaces

This bill would increase from $4,000 to $10,000the minimum penalty for a violation of the legal requirements applicable to a privately owned public space.

Introduction 1389-2016: Time Limits for Scaffolding and Sidewalk Sheds

Nearly 9,000 scaffolds that entomb 190 miles of City sidewalks may soon be dismantled, under legislation introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos. Unnecessary scaffolding also known as “sidewalk sheds” would have to be removed if seven days pass without construction work.
 
Sidewalk sheds are temporary structures, made of wooden planks, boards and metal pipes to protect pedestrians from dangerous conditions that are being corrected or new construction. Scaffolding is not only an eyesore but attract crime such as drug deals and provide an alternative to shelter for homeless. Many sidewalk sheds persist for years, sometimes more than a decade. There are several sidewalk sheds in Council District 5 represented by Kallos that have been up for years, over two years at 340 East 64th Street and 301 East 95th Street and over three years at 349 East 74th Street. Often times, it is much more expensive to fix a dangerous condition than to leave a sidewalk shed up indefinitely

Kallos’ legislation would set the following timeline for sidewalk sheds in place for dangerous conditions:

  • 90 days for building owners to fix a dangerous condition,
  • 90 additional for building owners days to fix the dangerous condition upon extension,
  • After 180 days, the city would do the work to correct the dangerous condition and bill the owner for all costs.
  • Work could not be interrupted for more than 7 days without a mandate to take down the sidewalk shed or face heavy penalties.

Under the same legislation, new construction would need to continue without more than 7 days of interruption until the new development is safely capped off or completed. Exemptions in the legislation provide for weather, stop work orders, time awaiting permit renewals or in cases of safety risks.

Introduction 1015-2015: Affordable Housing Registration and Application

The legislation seeks to solve the following longstanding problems with affordable housing:

  • Non-Registration – owners fail to register thousands of buildings with tens of thousands of units for which they receive hundreds of millions in tax breaks each year.
  • Paper Applications – applicants must mail an application request, receive the application by mail, return the application by mail, and wait hoping nothing got lost in the mail.
  • Lotteries and Rejections – three quarters of applications have been rejected in lotteries because individuals apply for the wrong affordable housing for their income.
  • Waiting List Corruption – investigations revealed dozens of instances of corruption and bribery surrounding waiting lists for affordable housing.
  • Numerous Individual Places to Apply – Multiple websites offered by DHCR,HPDHDC  and non-profits like Met Council as well as at individual affordable housing buildings.

This local law would create an affordable housing internet portal. It provides requirements for both the portal itself and for units that would be listed on the portal.

 

Introduction 931-2015: Applying Tax Liens to Buildings with Outstanding Violations

This bill allows the city to impose tax liens on buildings which contain 20 or more dwelling units where the total value of all such judgments against the building is $60,000 or more, or a building which contains between 6 and 19 dwelling units, where the value of the judgments is $30,000 or more. The bill contains exceptions for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s preservation projects.