The Covid-19 pandemic, among its many impacts, has drastically underscored the need for ways to mitigate steep commercial rents, such as rent regulation and temporary rent relief. Several local politicians have suggested solutions, including the temporary suspension of commercial rent tax. This week, New York City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and Council Member Gale Brewer introduced legislation that would accomplish the latter.
new york city council
Photo courtesy of the Department of Sanitation
A bill introduced in the New York City Council on Thursday calls for the creation of a mandatory citywide composting program at residential buildings. Under the legislation, sponsored by Council Member Shahana Hanif, New Yorkers would be required to separate organic waste from other waste for curbside collection. Pickup of organic waste from residential buildings would begin by the middle of 2023.
The New York City Council is calling on Mayor Eric Adams to allocate an additional $3.1 billion to build more bike lanes, bus lanes, and space for pedestrians. In a response to the mayor’s preliminary budget for the fiscal year 2023 published this week, the council said the mayor would not be able to fulfill his campaign promise of building 300 miles of protected bus lanes during his first term due to a lack of funding. According to the council, the increased investment would allow for 500 miles of protected bike lanes, 500 miles of bus lanes, and 38 million square feet of open pedestrian space, according to the Council’s proposal.
A rendering of West Broadway in Soho, looking downtown; courtesy of City Planning Commission
The New York City Council on Wednesday voted to approve the plan to rezone Soho and Noho, a major policy win for Mayor Bill de Blasio in his final days in office. The rezoning aims to bring about 3,000 new homes, with roughly 900 of them permanently affordable, to the Lower Manhattan neighborhoods, which are two of the wealthiest in the city.
“Ally Block” will include the city’s first all-electric skyscraper; Rendering: Alloy Development
New York City is now the largest city in the United States to phase fossil fuels out of new construction. The City Council on Wednesday approved legislation banning the use of natural gas in new buildings under seven stories tall starting in 2023 and in structures over seven stories in the middle of 2027. The legislation means new buildings in the city, with very few exceptions, will be all-electric.
Photo via Flickr
Under legislation approved by the New York City Council on Thursday, the value of rental assistance vouchers provided to homeless New Yorkers will increase, a major step in moving people out of shelters into permanent housing. Sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, the bill raises the city’s rental subsidy, called CityFHEPS, from a maximum of $1,580/month to $2,217/month for a two-bedroom apartment for a family of three. Homeless advocates say this could help thousands more homeless families find permanent housing each year.
Photo looking south on open West End Avenue, taken by 6sqft on 5.16.20
The popular program that closed streets to cars for pedestrian use will be made permanent under legislation passed by the New York City Council on Thursday. The “Open Streets” initiative first launched last spring as a way to make social distancing easier and to reduce crowds at parks during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the city. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would provide some funding and resources to the largely volunteer-led program while ensuring the open streets are fairly allocated among communities.
Rendering: FWRA LLC
Plans to rezone parts of the Flushing waterfront to make way for a 13-tower mixed-use development were approved by the New York City Council on Thursday. The approval of the zoning changes and the project, which calls for 1,725 units of housing, a hotel, offices, and retail space across 29 acres, came after elected officials reached an agreement this week with union groups SEIU 32BJ and the Hotels Trade Council to provide good-paying jobs for service workers, as well as hire public housing residents in the area.
The New York City Council on Thursday voted to extend the cap on commissions that restaurants are charged by third-party delivery services. The legislation, first enacted in May, restricts fees services like Grubhub and Uber Eats can charge to 20 percent per order during a state of emergency. The cap will now be in effect until restaurants are able to resume indoor dining at maximum occupancy and 90 days following. There is still no plan to bring back indoor dining, despite the city meeting the state’s coronavirus metrics.
Small businesses in New York City are struggling to stay afloat, especially those still unable to reopen because of the coronavirus pandemic. A survey from the Hospitality Alliance found that only 19 percent of city businesses paid June rent and only 26 percent of landlords waived rent. Council Member Keith Powers on Monday released a report detailing ways to save small businesses and prepare for a post-COVID-19 world by providing emergency rent relief using federal funds, waiving the commercial rent tax, making outdoor dining permanent, and other measures.