New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing development must seek a better balance between market rate and affordable housing. Pioneers who have built our neighborhoods must not be forced to leave because they are victims of their own success, their housing should remain affordable so that they may realize the fruits of their labor.<br><br>As former Chief of Staff for&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Mitchell-Lama</strong></a>&nbsp;Subcommittee Chair,&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing</strong></a>, I know the current issues facing affordable housing. I had the opportunity to work on the next generation of progressive&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>legislation</strong></a>&nbsp;that would scale certain rent regulations to the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>consumer price index</strong></a>, so that new laws are always current and housing remains affordable for generations to come. But there is more to do and as your City Council member I will continue this work by reforming rent regulation, using market indices like the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>consumer price index</strong></a>, and expanding affordable housing.<br><br>In addition to fixing affordable housing and rent regulation laws, we must also create a centralized affordable housing resource. Affordable housing must be&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>, with easily accessible and searchable lists by address and qualification, rather than having to search through over a dozen different programs and agencies. We must&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>&nbsp;affordable housing by creating an easy centralized application process. Lastly, the waiting lists for all affordable housing must be publicly available to provide&nbsp;<strong>accountability</strong>&nbsp;where these waiting lists have been previously abused.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Council votes to crack down on cheating landlords by Paula Katinas

Council votes to crack down on cheating landlords

On Tuesday, the Council approved Intro 1015-A, a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams, with input from Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, to hold building owners who receive tax abatements accountable to the city.

Starting in 2020, landlords who aren’t providing affordable apartments after they have received financial windfalls in the form of city financing or tax breaks will be required to register their units with the city.

Wall Street Journal: Bill Seeking Transparency in Affordable Housing Passes New York City Council by Cezary Podkul

Bill Seeking Transparency in Affordable Housing Passes New York City Council

Applicants also would be able to track the progress of their applications and see where they are on waiting lists to rent units, which are awarded by lottery. By 2021, residents also would be able to verify with the city that they are being charged a legal rent.

The legislation is meant to make the application and search process more transparent and efficient, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

“I want to make it more like StreetEasy or Zillow,” Mr. Kallos said, referring to the popular housing search websites.

The city already runs a website that helps tenants find income-restricted apartments, NYC Housing Connect, but Mr. Kallos said it is “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t do enough to match tenants with available units.

New York Daily News Construction sites must lower noise during city’s quiet time under new law by Erin Durkin

Construction sites must lower noise during city’s quiet time under new law

Construction done at odd hours will have to turn down the volume under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos places stricter limits on construction within 200 feet of a home before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and any time on weekends.

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn’t be because of after-hours construction that wakes you up,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan). “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The construction cacophony will be capped at 80 decibels next year, and dropped to 75 in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels.

Gotham Gazette Protecting Tenants from Construction Harassment by Opinion

Protecting Tenants from Construction Harassment

We’ve seen it in our districts. A new landlord takes ownership of a building and starts a construction project that never finishes in order to evict long-term residents. They may turn off the cooking gas indefinitely; they may even knock out the boiler with no explanation.

For too many New Yorkers, this nightmare is their reality. The stories are plentiful: heat and gas shutoffs in the middle of winter, jackhammering causing cracks in apartment walls, loss of power, and lead dust in the air lasting for months on end. For years, city and borough officials and community advocates have encountered a critical mass of stories like these, detailing the unscrupulous conduct of landlords as well as the insufficient response from the City of New York. See the Controversial Mixed-Income Tower Set to Rise on UES Playground by Shaye Weaver

See the Controversial Mixed-Income Tower Set to Rise on UES Playground

The new tower will rise 47 stories and feature a recreation center and playgrounds, according to city officials.

Fetner Properties
YORKVILLE — The city finally released renderings of a mixed-income tower set to rise on top of an existing playground at the Holmes Towers public housing complex — and while the city is celebrating, some locals see the news as "salt in the wound."

The images released Wednesday are the first to come out of a year-and-a-half long debate between current Holmes Towers residents and the New York City Housing Authority about the logistics of the plan, which falls under the city's new NextGen program meant to raise capital funds for its existing developments across the city.

The renderings show a 47-story, off-white building rising among the red-brick Holmes Towers buildings on East 93rd Street, as well as a new 18,000-square-foot recreation and community center run by Asphalt Green and new playgrounds.

run its recreation center, which will include an indoor basketball court, a rooftop turf field and low-cost programming.


City Land Tenant Harassment Bills Package to be Considered by Committee by Jonathon Sizemore

Tenant Harassment Bills Package to be Considered by Committee

Intro No. 0931-2015, sponsored by Ben Kallos, would treat unpaid judgments rendered by the Environmental Control Board as tax liens on the property in question, which would potentially subject the building to the City’s tax-lien sale program.

Curbed Sutton Place tower developer loses legal battle by Zoe Rsenberg Tanay Warerkar

Sutton Place tower developer loses legal battle

A consortium of community members and elected officials continue to rally against a skyscraper proposed for a low-rise residential block on East 58th Street. The East River Fifties Alliance, which includes officials like City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and neighborhood stakeholders, are not letting up on their fight against Bauhouse Group’s proposed 950-foot tower at 426-432 East 58th Street despite last week’s court ordered auction of the site due to the developer’s mounting fiscal troubles.

Wall Street Journal Community Groups on Manhattan’s East Side Fight Proposed 950-foot Tower by Josh Barbanel

Community Groups on Manhattan’s East Side Fight Proposed 950-foot Tower

The plan, which the groups and officials said they were ready to formally propose to the City Planning Commission as early as this week, calls for buildings in the neighborhood to be no taller than 260 feet.

“I want to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat who is supporting the zoning change.

The groups hope it is approved before development work begins at the site. The proposed change also could discourage bidders at the auction, which was ordered by the court following a dispute between Bauhouse Group and its lenders, led by N. Richard Kalikow.

The zoning change isn’t the only hurdle the project faces. On Wednesday, the Department of Buildings blocked a permit needed to complete demolition of the site, after conducting an audit requested by Mr. Kallos.

The delay is a further setback, since the demolition was intended to enhance the site’s value to potential bidders.

The permit application, submitted as a result of a bankruptcy court order, was for stabilizing a building next door to the tower site, so demolition could proceed. But the buildings department blocked it.

Mr. Kallos said he was told that plans to protect tenants of the building, 426 E. 58th St., weren’t adequate.

Our Town 3 Ways the City Council Wants to Curb Tenant Harassment and Evictions by Amy Zimmer

3 Ways the City Council Wants to Curb Tenant Harassment and Evictions

Under another law, introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos, HPD’s third-party transfer program — which allows the city to foreclose and sell distressed buildings to pre-qualified third parties — would be expanded to include buildings whose owners have incurred large numbers of unsatisfied building violations.

The legislation aims to put pressure on landlords who fail to address recurring building problems and fail to pay the fines incurred on those violations.

HPD officials have been working with the Council as part of a task force on how to reform the sales of distressed properties and said they hope to study the issue further based on the group’s findings.

Gothamist Upper East Side NYCHA Residents Fight To Save Their Playground From Private Development by Gaby Del Valle

Upper East Side NYCHA Residents Fight To Save Their Playground From Private Development

In a letter delivered to NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye on September 1st, the Holmes Stakeholder Committee—which includes City Council Member Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Holmes Tower residents—outlined their concerns with the selected site.

Of three proposed sites, the stakeholders claim, the playground was chosen "amid widespread resistance from the community to development that would take away the park from the children."

"The entirety of the Stakeholder Committee is not in favor [of the site], so there are a lot of questions about whether it really represents what residents chose," Paul Westrick, Kallos's Legislative Director, told Gothamist. Westrick added that although NYCHA held community engagement meetings this past February, they "were not well attended, and the public outreach they did wasn't really extensive." Because of a lack of community engagement, the stakeholders are requesting that the agency extend the proposal deadline from September 30th to November 30th.