Council likely to pass bill on deed restriction changes

Legislators want to prevent a repeat of the Rivington House controversy
December 05, 2016 12:30PM

Bill de Blasio and Rivington House at 45 Rivington Street

Bill de Blasio and Rivington House at 45 Rivington Street

Mayors will be required to personally approve changes or removals to city-imposed deed restrictions, under a new bill expected to pass the New York City Council on Tuesday.

Under the proposed law, any changes to a deed restriction on a property will be reviewed by the Citywide Administrative Services, which will be required to run a land-use study with the Department of City Planning, consult local officials and hold a public hearing. The city will also create an online database of any properties with deed restrictions, the New York Times reported. Under current laws, the administrative agency can lift deed restrictions in exchange for a fee, with the sign off from the mayor’s office of contract services, but not the mayor himself.

The proposal is part of an attempt to prevent a repeat of the Rivington House scandal, in which Allure Group paid the city $16.1 million to lift the deed restriction on a nursing home at 45 Rivington Street. The company was then able to sell the property to a group of developers, including Slate Property Group, for a $72 million profit. The city has accused Slate of deliberating misleading it over plans to develop the site into luxury condominiums.

The bill is sponsored by Council member Margaret Chin, whose district includes the Rivington House, and is supported by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“It came out of Rivington, it came out of the Dance Theater of Harlem,” Brewer told the Times, referring to another recent deed restriction removal that caused community anger. “It will prevent future Rivingtons in that it will provide transparency.” [NYT]Miriam Hall