Sandy buyout program expands
The New York State Office of Storm Recovery said a state-sponsored buyout program for Staten Island homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy is expanding its coverage again. The program, launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year, targets homeowners whose storm-damaged houses are in areas deemed likely to flood again, and purchases them at their pre-storm value, plus an additional 10 percent incentive. The buyout originally covered the neighborhood of Oakwood Beach and was then expanded to include Ocean Breeze. It will now also cover about 130 homes in the enclave of Graham Beach, which is bordered by Jefferson Avenue, Olympia Boulevard, Father Capodanno Boulevard and Naughton Avenue. So far, the state has purchased 170 homes in Oakwood beach for $70 million. Once bought, the homes are demolished and the land left for environmental purposes like wetlands restoration and coastal buffer zones.
Bill to force equal access to high-end amenities
Democratic City Council Member Mark Levine, who represents the Upper West Side, is boosting a bill that would grant rent-stabilized tenants equal access to high-end amenities in their buildings. The bill, which is still being drafted, would amend a current human rights code to include protections for rent-stabilized tenants. In particular, elected officials targeted two Upper West Side buildings, the managements of which prohibited rent-stabilized tenants from accessing newly added amenities. In March, state Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, also an Upper West Side Democrat, introduced a similar bill that would slap fines of as much as $25,000 on landlords who deny renters access to amenities.