The Real Deal New York

De Blasio inks law requiring DOB to alert officials of new projects

The department will have to give weekly updates on applications

February 08, 2016 03:50PM
By Kathryn Brenzel

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rick Chandler

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rick Chandler

A new law requires the Department of Buildings to give city officials a heads up when a new building is proposed for a neighborhood.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law Monday ensuring that the department alert the City Council and Community Boards via email on a weekly basis after an application for a new building or for an alteration requiring a new certificate of occupancy for a building is filed. The bill also requires the department to email notices of rejected applications and also post all this information on its website every week.

Council member Laurie Cumbo, who co-sponsored the bill with Council member Fernando Cabrera, said that the law will increase transparency — a boon to neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn where new projects sprout up on a daily basis.

“Residents just don’t feel like they are empowered with enough information,” Cumbo said at a hearing preceding the bill’s signing.
Also, in the spirit of transparency, the mayor signed a bill that requires the Department of Finance to further spell out how certain rent programs work. The department must provide those applying for the senior citizen rent increase exemption and the disability rent increase exemption with a clearer idea of how rent is calculated under both programs.

De Blasio also signed two bills into law Monday that will increase the budgets of nine Business Improvement Districts and expands the MetroTech BID in Downtown Brooklyn.

One of the bills expands the MetroTech BID by 35,000 square feet, adding the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Fox Square and other “downtown Brooklyn cultural gems,” de Blasio said. The bill also increased the BID’s annual assessment by $1 million, from $2.6 million to $3.6 million.

The mayor also signed into law a bill that increased the annual assessments of nine other BIDs. One of the biggest increases was to the 14th Street-Union Square BID, which will see a $600,000 increase to its assessment. Other BIDs include Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue, Montague Street and 180th Street.

“Bottom line: When our small businesses thrive, New York City thrives,” de Blasio said.