New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Sarina Trangle

AM New York New rules proposed to curb abuse of 'mechanical voids' in high-rises by Sarina Trangle

New rules proposed to curb abuse of 'mechanical voids' in high-rises

West Side, Upper East Side, Queens and the Bronx.

The limits seemed lax to several elected officials and neighborhood groups in Manhattan, who claimed at a hearing Wednesday that the regimen would still allow the proliferation of places like 432 Park Ave., where mechanical voids account for about 25 percent of — and illuminate patches at night of — the 1,396-foot tall condo, according to City Councilman Ben Kallos. 

"We need to pass it immediately due to the sheer number of buildings that are coming down the pipeline that want to use voids to get additional height," Kallos said. "There is always room for improvement, and I am concerned it doesn't go far enough."

Trade groups representing engineers and developers, however, said the framework proposed was not flexible enough for the breadth of buildings it could regulate and raised concerns about it impeding energy efficiency and other construction advancements.

"By restraining innovation at a time when the means of achieving operational and energy efficiencies are rapidly evolving, the legislation could cost the city opportunities for future use of the most advanced and appropriate mechanical health and safety systems," said Paul Selver, a member of the Real Estate Board of New York trade group representing landlords and developers.

Kallos, reading testimony on behalf of 10 other Manhattan politicians, suggested mechanical spaces that stretch beyond 14-feet in height be calculated into buildings' permitted square footage; and grace spaces only be allowed every 200, rather than 75, feet.

AM New York New rules proposed to curb abuse of 'mechanical voids' in high-rises by Sarina Trangle

New rules proposed to curb abuse of 'mechanical voids' in high-rises

City planners have not managed to avoid critiques with their new approach to mechanical voids.

The Department of City Planning suggested new protocols for spaces set aside in residences for electrical, heating and cooling systems after community groups claimed developers were stretching buildings past standard heights by including unusually tall floors for mechanical equipment.

AM New York Upper East Side residents sue over 524-foot-tall development by Sarina Trangle

Upper East Side residents sue over 524-foot-tall development

A new lawsuit has brought a skirmish over a residential skyscraper on the Upper East Side to new heights.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, City Councilman Ben Kallos, and two neighborhood groups are challenging the city’s approval of a residential building with an art gallery, currently under construction at 180 East 88th St.

DDG Partners’ structure is slated to rise 524 feet, when including mechanical equipment.

In a lawsuit recently filed in New York County Supreme Court, the Upper East Side groups claimed DDG Partners created a micro-lot to skirt zoning rules that would have otherwise limited the building’s height to about 300- to 350-feet, according to estimates from Kallos’ office.

AM New York Council Expected to Pass Measure Limiting After-Hours Construction Noise by Sarina Trangle

Council Expected to Pass Measure Limiting After-Hours Construction Noise

A bill empowering the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to quell after-hours construction noise was voted out of a Council committee Monday. Councilman Ben Kallos, who sponsored the measure, expected his colleagues to approve the measure at a scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“New Yorkers hate getting woken up early or kept up late at night with construction,” Kallos said, noting that noise concerns are the most common complaint logged in the city’s 3-1-1 system. “[The DEP] actually agreed and worked with us on this legislation that makes a huge update to the city’s noise code.”

Kallos noted that the legislation will task the DEP with crafting rules specifying how long inspectors have to respond to complaints about after-hours work and which grievances ought to be prioritized because the noises are expected to continue. A DEP spokesman said the rulemaking process typically takes six months to one year.
 

 

AM New York City construction hits record high with midtown leading the charge, data show by Sarina Trangle

City construction hits record high with midtown leading the charge, data show

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

AM New York Sutton Place Skyscraper Allowed by City Planning Commission, Despite New Zoning Restrictions by Sarina Trangle

Sutton Place Skyscraper Allowed by City Planning Commission, Despite New Zoning Restrictions

But the local City Councilman, Ben Kallos, says he plans to remove the grandfathering clause and promptly pass the prior plan.

“This took more than three years to bring it from a community concern about billionaire’s row extending into a residential neighborhood,” Kallos said, referencing several luxury residential skyscrapers in the works just south of Central Park. “New Yorkers are frustrated with overdevelopment, regardless of what neighborhood that they’re in.”

AM New York City Construction Hits Record High with Midtown Leading the Charge, Data Shows by Sarina Trangle

City Construction Hits Record High with Midtown Leading the Charge, Data Shows

The area’s councilman, Ben Kallos, said he fields complaints daily about overdevelopment and is worried the city is not ready to absorb the population boom it is experiencing.

“They don’t have the school seats we need for the people living here and moving here,” he said. “The Second Avenue Subway is already surpassing ridership goals and they are adding more and more trains.”

AM New York Sutton Place rezoning plan may force de Blasio to address affordable housing program by Sarina Trangle

Sutton Place rezoning plan may force de Blasio to address affordable housing program

A zoning debate in Manhattan's Sutton Place may seem like just another posh neighborhood telling a developer its project is not welcome.

But City Hall is listening for a bellwether in the bickering.

A zoning proposal put forward by residents of the neighborhood may force Mayor Bill de Blasio to finally have to reckon with a much-criticized affordable housing program he pledged to examine 15 months ago, experts said.

Near the beginning of 2017, Gamma Real Estate filed plans for a co-op on Sutton Place. Some nearby residents said the project, which is now slated to be nearly 800 feet high, would tower over the neighborhood and change its character.

City and State IN WAKE OF DE BLASIO NONPROFIT PROBE, KALLOS SAYS LEGISLATION TO REGULATE 501(C)4 NONPROFITS UNDER DISCUSSION by Sarina Trangle

IN WAKE OF DE BLASIO NONPROFIT PROBE, KALLOS SAYS LEGISLATION TO REGULATE 501(C)4 NONPROFITS UNDER DISCUSSION

“I’m actually working actively with colleagues,” Kallos said during a Friday press conference at City Hall to promote various ethics reforms. “We’re drafting legislation around disclosure and limits to what people can do with (c)4s and moving forward, and to the extent that anyone has (c)4s, making sure that they engage in voluntarily disclosure ahead of us engaging in our legislative advocacy and actually making it a legal requirement. Right now is a good time, if anyone has a (c)4, for it to cease and for folks to disclose. … We need to make sure that we lock down every single place that money and corruption can happen.”

Kallos said it would be inaccurate to describe the legislation as his, however. The councilman said he had discussed potential reform measures with others, but he would not name any potential sponsors. Still, he said he hoped legislation related to 501(c)4 nonprofits would come before the Government Operations Committee that he chairs.

City and State NYC Board of Elections Seeks $10M for Handicapped Access by Sarina Trangle

NYC Board of Elections Seeks $10M for Handicapped Access

However, New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, who chairs the Committee on Governmental Operations chair, said the $12 million mentioned in Ryan’s testimony seemed like a lot of money for compliance.

“I'll be working closely with them and with our Law Department to make sure that we are minimizing the cost associated with the federal court order and trying to be as efficient as possible,” Kallos said. “We will be looking very closely to make sure that they are not over-budgeting and then coming back with a surplus because that’s millions of dollars we could be spending on social service programs and education.”