Tuesday, October 31, 2006

LDC Defers Land-Use Demands

Columbia Spectator
Home > News

LDC Defers Land-Use Demands
Eminent Domain Not A Condition for CBA Talks
By Erin Durkin
Issue date: 10/31/06 Section: News

The local development corporation that is slated to work out a community benefits agreement with Columbia on behalf of the Manhattanville community has voted not to make the renunciation of eminent domain a prerequisite for negotiations.

The decision, made at a private meeting of the LDC earlier this month, was discussed at a meeting of Community Board 9's Manhattanville task force Monday night.

Pat Jones, co-chair of the task force and a CB9 representative on the LDC, explained, "The mission of the LDC is to negotiate and monitor a CBA ... the negotiation of a CBA by no means assures, winks, or nods at Community Board 9 supporting a plan that has eminent domain in it."

"We know that strange things happen in the City of New York," she said, explaining that the Columbia plan may well be approved with or without CB9's approval, adding that the LDC will have "done a great disservice if there's no community benefits."

But some attendees objected to the group's decision. "I know that the LDC wasn't created to deal with the land use issues, but I feel that it's in a unique position to force Columbia to deal with that," Harlem resident Mario Mazzoni said.

He said that demanding eminent domain be taken off the table as a precondition could be effective because "I think personally Columbia needs the CBA more than we do."

CB9 member Michael Palma defended the decision, saying that while eminent domain is important, "It's not the only thing."

"If no one talks to Columbia, they'll go ahead and use eminent domain," he said. "When everybody's paid off and they go home to the suburbs ... we're left holding the bag."

Business owner Judy Zuhusky, who has refused to sell her property to Columbia, objected to this premise. "If we wanted to be paid off we'd have been paid off months and years ago," she said, "I resent that anyone suggests that I'm going to go into suburbia and live my happy life."

Issues also arose over the retention of attorney Jesse Masyr to represent the LDC. Masyr is working pro bono, but his agreement with the LDC states that he will keep track of his fees and may be reimbursed by "outside parties" if it is deemed appropriate. Who these outside parties might be remains unclear.

CB9 member Carolyn Kent objected to Masyr's retention, calling him a "hero of big development."LDC member Cecil Corbin-Mark said he was also uncomfortable with the situation. "I tried to find alternative counsel," he said, but was unsuccessful. "In the end, I think people decided, OK, he's represented developers, he brings some knowledge of how they work and how they're fought."

Friday, October 27, 2006

City Modifies Harlem Project To Include More ‘Affordable' Units

The New York Sun
New York

City Modifies Harlem Project To Include More ‘Affordable' Units
By DAVID LOMBINOStaff Reporter of the Sun
October 24, 2006

The city is modifying a real estate proposal in East Harlem, a few months after community opposition killed a $1 billion deal to redevelop about two city blocks with apartments, offices, stores, and a parking lot.

The city's plan, called Uptown New York, was first launched in 1999 as a retail project. It evolved over time, along with the fortunes of Harlem real estate, to encompass about 2 million square feet of development and four apartment towers on six acres between 125th and 127th Streets and Third and Second Avenues.

Complaints from the local community about the size and makeup of the proposal, voiced by Community Board 11, the local city council member, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, caused the city to pull the plug in May on a deal with a developer, Urban Strategic Partners.

Yesterday, the city's Economic Development Corporation reissued a request for proposals to buy and develop the site that caps the number of apartments at 1,000 in a maximum of two towers. Before, about 80% of 1,500 planned apartments would be market rate, but now the city is mandating that all the apartments constitute "affordable" housing, with 50% as rentals and 50% for purchase. Those who already live in the area of Community Board 11 will be given "preferential treatment" for half of the apartments.

In addition, a percentage of the retail space would be reserved for local businesses, there would be space reserved for local non-profit and cultural organizations, and the local community will also have a say in selecting the developer, although city officials stopped short of calling it a veto. Ms. Viverito, Mr. Stringer, and the community board now support the plan.

The president of the EDC, Joshua Sirefman, said that he is optimistic that the project remains commercially viable after the recent changes. He said that fact that local leaders are on board is "a huge bonus for developers."

"We heard loud and clear from the community, and we felt strongly the need to work with them to find the best use of site," Mr. Sirefman said. "It's increasingly a model that Bloomberg administration has followed."

A lingering critique of the Bloomberg administration's development strategy is its preference for large development projects and its lack of regard for "community-based development."

In Brooklyn, neighbors of the proposed Atlantic Yards project — vastly bigger at about 8.7 million square feet — have complained the city has not addressed community concerns. That project is being guided through the review process by a state agency.

The director of land use in the office of Manhattan borough president, Anthony Borelli, said in the case of Uptown New York, the administration backed away from a fight.

"I think the city actually saw that it would probably be more productive and less adversarial if they started from scratch, rather than push it through with a lot of community opposition," Mr. Borelli said.

The city currently owns 81% of the site is seeking to acquire the rest of it, but it may need to rely on condemnation through eminent domain. Currently, the site houses several parking lots, including a bus parking lot belonging to the MTA, which will be replaced with an underground facility.

A Harlem developer, David Blumenfeld, said that he would submit a bid for the city's new proposal. He said that he expected a lot of interest from developers, who are still bullish on the Harlem real estate market, but he said that condemnation presents a challenge.

"With all the lawsuits brought recently regarding condemnation, and concerns of using condemnation for private development, that makes it a difficult site," he said. Bids are due in January and construction could begin in 2008.

Monday, October 23, 2006

North and South Don’t Share the Same View on Conditions at One Manhattan Park

The New York Times
October 22, 2006

North and South Don’t Share the Same View on Conditions at One Manhattan Park

On a warm, cloudless day a few weeks ago, Riverside Park hummed with activity. At the annual Oyster Festival, crowds of people downed freshly shucked oysters and drank pints of Guinness as the Hudson River lapped softly in the background.

In the same park, about 30 blocks to the north, the scene was less genteel. Two homeless women, one speaking animatedly, the other silently combing her hair with her fingers, negotiated with a crack cocaine dealer.

“Come over here a minute,” he told them, gesturing to an overgrown section where soiled mattresses lay in a tangle of weeds.

Both episodes took place within half an hour of each other at one of the city’s most popular open spaces. The park’s southern tier, which stretches some 266 acres along the river from 59th Street to 125th Street, has among its highlights immaculate lawns, sand volleyball courts, a preserve for bird watching, and tennis courts and baseball and soccer fields that have been resurfaced in the past 18 months.

The park’s 50-acre northern section, which continues along the river from 125th Street to 158th Street, has none of those amenities. The divots in the two ball fields are so deep that they remain full of water for days after rainstorms, leading children to place sections of cardboard over them in order to play baseball.

In the north, as well, a thriving open-air sex market exists, with mattresses and lean-tos fashioned out of plastic bags and cast-off clothes for privacy. There are discarded hypodermic needles, crack cocaine paraphernalia, mounds of trash and the stench of human waste.

Outside a playground at 141st Street and Riverside Drive, the walkway is sinking — taking a picnic table and two benches with it.

At another playground, there is a hole in the granite pavement about the size of a child’s foot.

The Parks Department has placed a metal sheet over it, but people who use the playground said the hole has gone unrepaired for more than two years.

In a recent interview, William Castro, the Parks Department’s Manhattan borough commissioner, said he had been unaware of many of the trash and maintenance problems at the northern end of the park. Mr. Castro, in fact, said the department spent roughly the same amount to maintain each end of the park.

“The capital dollars that go to the northern part of the park is approximately equal to the south,” he said. “And the cleaning in both parts is about the same.”

But the disparity in conditions between the two sections is so stark that longtime residents say it is as if a line has been drawn at 125th Street.

Savona Bailey-McClain, a Harlem resident and executive director of the West Harlem Art Fund, said she has been working for years to win what she defines as parity for the northern tier of Riverside Park and has recently helped develop a master plan for an overall improvement of the area.

“That area of the park has been neglected for decades — not weeks, not months, not years — decades,” she said.

Park advocates say public complaints about uneven maintenance in city parks is not new, but at Riverside Park, the differences seem particularly conspicuous. The northern end includes areas where wild vines grow out of broken lampposts and the park’s benches have been removed, leaving holes in the pavement. Barricades have also been posted across entry stairways with “No Trespassing” signs.

Mr. Castro said the economic differences between the neighborhoods that border the two sections of Riverside Park — the more affluent Upper West Side and the more economically uneven streets of Harlem — had nothing to do with the way the department maintained either end.
According to the Parks Department’s Web site, its inspectors have consistently rated the cleanliness of the northern section as being “acceptable,” the highest rating it awards.
Still, last month, after inquiries were made about cleaning and maintenance in the northern tier, the Parks Department began a cleanup that included evicting homeless people and dismantling their shanties, removing truckloads of garbage, and using high powered hoses to cleanse urine and feces stained staircases.
Left behind was a massive pile of trash that neighbors said has been growing for years. Mr. Castro said Parks Department workers had not found it during the cleanup.
“We need to do a better job of cleaning it,” Mr. Castro said of the northern section. He said he planned to place an extra cleaning crew in the area.
But Mr. Castro said some portions of the northern tier were magnets for litterbugs. He said cleaning the northern section’s steep slopes was difficult because workers have a hard time keeping their balance.
“It’s very dangerous, dirty, hard work for our park workers to clean the slopes,” he said.
Mr. Castro acknowledged that sex and drug trades in the northern tier has been a problem for years.
Mr. Castro said the city could do little to stop the illegal activities or to fix the section of the northern tier that is sinking. He said the metal plate covering the hole outside the playground made the play area secure.
“It is safe,” he said.
But William Artist, 42, who said he refuses to let his son play in the playground anymore, disagreed.

“I stopped letting him go there because the whole thing might collapse,” he said. “It’s dangerous, and they won’t fix it.”

Jim Dowell, president of the Riverside Park Fund, a private, nonprofit group that he said spends about $2 million a year on various projects in the park, said he has heard few, if any complaints, about inequality between the south and north sides of the park.

“I could take you places up there that are just as well-maintained as anywhere else in the park,” he said.

While parks officials say there are no homeless encampments in the southern park, the people who live in the northern part said they remain there because they are undisturbed by parks workers.

“We come here because nobody bothers us here,” said a man in his 40’s who gave his name as Georgie. “We like it dirty.”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hispanic Night at CB9M *** Noche Hispánica en CB9M

Hispanic Night



The program will be totally in Spanish, intended for the non-English speaking members of the community and for those who want to practice their Spanish and connect with the Hispanic & Latino communities.

[A] Do you know what services are available to you from City Agency?

[B] Do you know what your rights are?

[C] Do you know what Community Board 9 is?

Come and find out:

WHEN: Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WHERE: Community Board No. 9 Manhattan
565 West 125th Street, (between Broadway & Old Broadway)

TIME: 6:30 P.M.

Speak with the Police, Human Resources Administration, The District Attorney, our Elected Officials, and other City agencies.

Chairman: Jordi Reyes-Montblanc

For further information you can call (212) 864-6200

Noche Hispánica

en la


El programa sera totalmente en español, dirigido a los miembros de nuestra comunidad que no hablan ingles y para aquellos que desean practicar su español y conectar con las comunidades hispanas y latinas.

[A] ¿Sabe Vd. que servicios las agencias de la Ciudad ofrecen?

[B] ¿Sabe Vd. cuales son sus derechos?

[C] ¿Sabe Vd. que es la Junta Comunitaria?

Venga y aprenda:

CUANDO: martes, Octubre 31 del 2006

DONDE: Community Board No. 9 Manhattan
565 West 125th Street, (between Broadway & Old Broadway)

HORA: 6:30 P.M.

Dialogue con la Policía, la Administración de Recursos Humanos, la Fiscalia, nuestros oficiales electos, y otras agencias de la Ciudad

Chairman: Jordi Reyes-Montblanc

Para mas información llame al (212) 864-6200

It's Heat Season!!!

To: reysmont@hdfccentral.org
Subject: Hey Tenants ... it's Heat Season!
From: "TenantNet-HK" <tenant@tenant.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 03:19:13 -0400 (EDT)

NYtenants Online News
TenantNet http://www.tenant.net/
October 20, 2006

The official NYC Heat Season started October 1 and temperatures have been inching lower and lower. So here's our yearly reminder of the heat requirements for all apartments, not just rent regulated units.

In This Issue ...
Heat Season Starts October 1 — from CTRC Some Practical Tips

Don't Freeze, Organize! — from Met Council
Don't Freeze, Organize! — from Met Council, in Spanish

If you have problems with heat in your building, keep a Heat Sheet

This is our yearly Heat Season notice, compiled from various sources. While almost all of the information stays the same from year-to-year, if you discover anything that is outdated or incorrect, or if you think something ought to be included in future versions, please notify us at tenant-at-tenant.net (replace the "-at-" with the "@" sign.

Also worth Noting:
NYC Heat Number

The Division of Code Enforcement of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), has a twenty-four hour heat complaint telephone number -- the number is either 311 or 212-New-York (212-639-9675) for those with cell phones, VOIP, SKYPE or otherwise unable to access 311. For the hearing impaired, the TTY number is (212) 504-4115.

A Tenant's Guide to Getting and Keeping Gas and Electricity Service.
A guide for consumers in Brooklyn but useful for anyone looking to get and maintain gas and electric service. http://tenant.net/Rights/Utility/util-toc.html

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
HEAP provides regular or emergency help to seniors and low- income families with heating bills. A one-time grant per year to help low-income homeowners and renters pay fuel and utility cost.
If you are 60 years or older, call NYC Department for the Aging HEAP Program: 212-442-1000
Those under 60 years, call: Human Resources Administration Infoline 877-472-8411


Room temperature
also see: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/pr2006/pr-10-01-06.shtml
and: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/tenants/heat-and-hot-water.shtml

From October 1 through May 31
Heat is required
When outside temp is below .............. Inside temp must beat least
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
55 68

10:00 pm - 6:00 am
40 55

Hot Water
Hot Water is required 24 hours a day at a minimum temperature at the tap of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

In New York City, during the heating season from October 1 through May 31, tenant complaints of lack of heat and hot water are officially given top priority throughout the five boroughs by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) Division of Code Enforcement (DCE). A brutal winter may often send the temperature plummeting to below freezing for days at a time. Under such circumstances, any building without heat constitutes a life threatening, emergency situation for tenants, especially senior citizens, invalids and infants or young children.

It is not difficult to find reasons for the fact that heat and hot water problems are so commonplace. The cost of supplying fuel for heat and hot water service in a multiple dwelling is generally, after real estate taxes, the largest single expense incurred by its owner (luxury buildings may have employee payrolls that are larger). At current prices, the fuel bill (using #6 oil), in a year with average winter temperatures, for a typical one hundred unit apartment building would approximate $60,000. Landlords are too often tempted to look at this building expense as "controllable" and initiate a systematic cut-back in service calculated to produce substantial savings.

A large part of the NYC housing stock is old and in poor condition. Approximately 40 percent of existing buildings are pre-1929 "old law" or "new law" walk-up tenements. The heating systems in these buildings are generally inefficient, having outlived their useful life, and break down frequently. Although these systems could be replaced with the costs passed on to the tenants, many of these landlords are short of the necessary cash and operate their buildings on a shoestring. The buildings, usually in low-income neighborhoods, are not considered good risks for loans by banks and other lending institutions. Additionally, affected tenants, generally living at or below the poverty level, pay rents that consume 60 to 70 percent of their gross household income and could not possibly absorb any further increases.

Finally, most landlords, managing agents or superintendents have not had any technical training in how to efficiently operate building heating systems. A commonplace mid-winter scene in New York City is an overheated apartment with windows wide open pouring heat-energy dollars into the street. At the other extreme is the scene of a family with children huddling around a kitchen stove, the only source of heat in an otherwise freezing apartment.

Landlords or employees responsible for maintaining residential building services should be required to take courses that teach the necessary skills to run those buildings. Low cost classes that provide this training are currently offered by, among others, the Apartment House Institute (affiliated with the New York Technical College) and the Cornell University (New York) County Extension Service. This training invariably results in significant fuel savings for the owner and improved living conditions for the tenants.

Complaints to the Landlord
Tenants suffering from a chronic lack of heat and hot water are advised to send a letter of complaint to their landlord by certified mail. The letter should document the history and extent of the problem, listing specific dates and details. Ideally, it should include a daily heat chart, listing days of inside and outside temperatures when heating violations occurred. The letter should also call attention to any previous tenant complaints regarding heat related problems and what, if anything, was done to correct them. Finally, tenants should request a response within a specific time, and indicate that they will take whatever administrative and legal actions are necessary if there is none.

Central Complaints and Emergency Repairs
HPD, Division of Code Enforcement, has a twenty four hour heat complaint telephone number -- the number is either 311 or 212-New-York (212-639-9675) for those with cell phones or otherwise unable to access 311. For the hearing impaired, the TTY number is (212) 504-4115. The Center is open 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.

More info is at:

In Chinese: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/chinese-complaint-hotline.pdf

In Creole: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/creole-complaint-hotline-05-20-04.pdf

In Russian: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/russian-complaints.pdf

Tenants should provide, if possible, the name, address and phone number of the landlord or managing agent. If the problem is building wide, tenants should organize and take turns making daily, multiple calls until an inspector visits the building.

The central complaints operator's job is to determine the nature and extent of the emergency condition reported and prioritize an inspection response which should take place within twenty- four to seventy-two hours. During the heating season, only heat and hot water complaints are inspected. Inspections are not provided for non-heat related hazardous conditions until the heating season is over, often months after the hazardous condition was first reported; and inspection, even then, is doubtful.

HPD depends on "owner compliance" as the preferred system for getting repairs made. Upon an inspector's report of emergency conditions, the Emergency Service Bureau attempts to reach the owner or the building agent to tell them to make the necessary repairs within a specified time. The agency claims that ninety percent of owners are reached and that seventy five percent live up to their agreement with HPD. However, there is no documented record of landlord compliance because re- inspections are not routinely made. Confirmation that the work has been done is usually determined by oral or written responses that the bureau requests from tenants. This is a "hit or miss" system, at best. If the tenant does not write to indicate that repairs were not made, HPD deems the violation(s) corrected.

Where owners cannot be reached or have refused to take action to cure the emergency, HPD may send in its own in- house staff (Division of Maintenance) to do the work. If special skills are required, the bureau will engage an outside contractor (e.g., licensed plumber or licensed electrician). Uncooperative landlords who do not wish to be billed for emergency repairs by HPD, may deny access to the building or repair site to HPD workers or the hired contractor.
After two unsuccessful attempts to gain entry, the emergency bureau may ask HPD's Housing Litigation Bureau (HLB) for assistance. The litigation bureau attorneys will bring pressure on the owner to grant access, and failing that, after a "declaration of emergency," seek an access warrant in Court. Records indicate that very few access warrants are requested or issued. In heat and hot water emergencies, where the outside temperature is below freezing, HPD staff or contractors are authorized to "break and enter" if necessary.

HPD may legally bill the owner for emergency repairs and, if payment is not forthcoming, place a lien on the building.

Tenants are also reminded that the Multiple Dwelling Law Section 302 allows tenants, whose landlord is responsible for heating but has failed to purchase fuel oil, to contract and pay for fuel delivery and deduct such payment from their rent. The tenants must make reasonable efforts to contact the landlord about the lack of fuel oil and then order from the usual supplier or another established supplier. In a building using natural gas heating, pursuant to Public Services Law Section 116, tenants may use the landlords account or establish a new one with the public utility company and pay the heating bill. Such payments are deductible from future rents.

Court Actions
Tenants may withhold rent if they are denied heat and hot water and expect to be sued by their landlord for non-payment in Housing Court. In answering, tenants should claim landlord's breach of the Warranty of Habitability and cite the specific denial of services as a defense. A court ordered inspection to confirm tenants’ defense should be requested, if an inspection is still appropriate. Tenants should also enter a counterclaim for rent abatements based on reduced services. As mentioned above, documentation of times, dates, and relevant temperatures on those dates will play a critical role as evidence to substantiate tenant claims.

Tenants could also sue the landlord for the necessary repairs or restoration of services by filing an Housing Part Action (HP) in Housing Court. Favorable results of such an action might include court ordered repairs, rent abatements, and if there is further landlord non-compliance, fines, contempt proceedings and occasionally, jail sentences. The HP Action is often the fastest and most effective procedure that tenants may employ for getting landlords to comply with the housing codes and is highly recommended.

Complaints to the DHCR
Rent stabilized or rent controlled tenants in addition to the actions taken above, may, at the same time, file either form HHW-1 (individual tenants) or form RA-84 (building wide) with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The DHCR is required to order an inspection of the subject building and upon confirmation of the tenant complaint may reduce the existing rent and freeze any further increases. Rents remain frozen until services are restored. The landlord must make a written request for reinstatement of rents. Tenants can challenge the request if, in fact, the landlords claim of restoration of services is not accurate. For a more thorough discussion, refer to CTRC fact sheet, Rent Reduction for Lack of Services.

Note: Most tenant activists believe filing a complaint with DHCR is futile at best. While the avenue exists, DHCR is essentially a landlord-protection racket and more likely than not, not the quickest solution for heat-related problems.

Tenant Organizing
Because heat-related problems can become immediately hazardous to health and safety, the value of an organized tenancy cannot be overemphasized. The process of getting services restored may involve complex and extended legal negotiations with the landlord, city agencies and/or the courts. Such efforts are best carried out by a well organized tenant group. Tenants not able or not prepared to develop a self-organized group should seek the help and advice of a legal services provider, community housing organization, or a competent tenant attorney.

Practical Tips
From a practical standpoint, a heat complaint should trigger an inspection from HPD. Of course, that is the whole point. But also be aware that while inspectors will be quick to tell you they cannot report violations on conditions other than heat, they are under instructions to look for certain specific things relating to fire safety and egress -- and you should be aware of this.

They check for:
1. That you have a second means of egress, often (but not always) an unencumbered fire escape, not blocked by anything on the fire escape, plants, furniture on the fire escape, air conditioners protruding and blocking fire escapes, etc., and only FDNY-approved window gates (the type that aren't locked with a padlock).

2. That you don't have a double-cylinder lock on your front door. These locks require a key on both sides of the door. In a fire you might be locked-in while looking for a key in the dark.

3. That you have an operating smoke alarm.

These are legal requirements and good ideas. Anyone who has even been in a fire and who needed to quickly escape from a building will tell you this. So we urge you to make sure you're in compliance whether or not you need to make a heat-related complaint. But if an inspector reports any of these as a violation, the violation will go to your landlord who, in many cases, will try to blame you and take you to court. That's a headache you don't need. On the other hand, if the landlord caused any of these conditions, then you can/should complain about them.

HPD inspectors should also check for a) window guards and b) lead- paint hazards if you have young children. We're not sure if they always do this.

The above telephone numbers (311 or 212-NEW-YORK) should also be good for bad conditions other than heat, but since the budget cutbacks of the early 1990's, it's been virtually impossible to get inspections on other conditions unless ordered by Housing Court.

When an inspector comes, make sure you get his name and badge number and have him show his badge. You should be able to get copies of the resulting violations later from HPD, although there is often a lag time between the inspection and when it appears on their computer. And even if an inspector seems to be truly interested in your plight, be watchful that they don't have 'private' conversations with the super of landlord. It's been known to happen that some inspectors are 'persuaded' to not write-up violations. One way is to document his/her visit with a neighbor witness, photos of the condition (for other than heat), a heat sheet documenting the inside and outside temperature. And be sure the inspector knows you will follow-up with HPD on getting a copy of the violation. Just ask the inspector how to get a copy - they all know.

Don’t Freeze - Organize!courtesy Met Council on Housing
The law requires your landlord provide heat and hot water at the following levels from October 1 through May 31:
From 6 am to 10 pm: If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees everywhere in your apartment.

From 10 pm to 6 am: If the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees everywhere in your apartment.

Hot water at a minimum 120 degrees at the tap must be provided 24 hours a day, year round.

If your landlord does not maintain those minimum temperatures, you should:
Start an HP action in Housing Court. Ask for a court-ordered inspection and an Order to Correct.

Call the New York City Central Complaints Bureau at 311 immediately to record the landlord’s violation. Call repeatedly. An inspector should eventually come, although sometimes they don’t.

Get other tenants in your building to call Central Complaint. Everybody should call repeatedly, at least once every day the condition is not corrected.

Buy a good indoor/outdoor thermometer and keep a chart of the exact dates, times, and temperature readings, inside and out, so long as the condition is not corrected. The chart is your evidence.

Call the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal at (718) 739-6400 and ask them to send you their Heat and Hot Water complaint form. Get as many other apartments as possible in your building to sign on, demanding an order restoring heat and hot water, and a reduction and freeze (pardon the _expression!) in all the rents.

You’ll need a strong tenant association to force the landlord to provide heat and hot water. Write and call the landlord and demand repairs or fuel.

Prepare to go on rent strike but get legal advice first.

The Heat Laws Also Provide For:
The city’s Emergency Repair Department to supply your heat if the landlord does not. (Try waiting for this one!)

$250 a day fine to the landlord for every day of violation. (But the Housing Court rarely imposes these fines, let alone collects them.)

$1,000 fine to the landlord if an automatic control device is put on the boiler to keep the temperature below the lawful minimum.

If your boilers fuel tank is empty, tenants have the right to buy their own fuel after 24 hours of no heat and no response from the landlord. But this provision does not apply if the boiler is broken and needs both repairs and fuel.

CAUTION! Protect your money! If you decide to buy fuel, you must follow special lawful procedures very carefully. You should get help and advice from a tenant organizer.
Because the heat and hot water laws are in the law books does not mean they are enforced by government. Don’t freeze to death waiting for the city or state to act. Organize!

La ley requiere que su casero proporciona calefacción y agua caliente a las temperaturas siguientes, desde el 1ro de octubre hasta el 31 de mayo:

Desde las 6 a.m. hasta las 10 p.m.: Si la temperatura afuera es de menos de 55 grados, la temperatura adentro debe ser al menos de 68 grados en todo el apartamento.

Desde las 10 p.m. hasta las 6 a.m.: Si la temperatura afuera es de menos de 40 grados, la temperatura adentro debe ser al menos de 55 grados en todo el apartamento.

Se tiene que proporcionar agua caliente a un mínimo de 120 grados en el grifo las 24 horas del día, todo el año.

Si su casero no mantiene estas temperaturas mínimas, usted debe:
Comenzar una “Acción HP” (HP Action) en la Corte de Vivienda. Pida una inspección por orden de la corte y una Orden de Corrección (Order to Correct)

Llamar al Buro Central de Quejas (Central Control Bureau) de la ciudad de Nueva York al 311 inmediatamente, para documentar la violación del casero. Llame repetidamente. Se supone que un inspector vendrá eventualmente, aunque a veces no lo haga.

Exhortar a los otros inquilinos en el edificio a llamar al Central Complaint. Todosdeben llamar repetidamente, al menos una vez al día, todos los días en que tengan problemas con la calefacción.

Comprar un buen termómetro para afuera y adentro, para documentar las fechaslas horas, y las temperaturas, tanto afuera como adentro, mientras tengaproblemas con la calefacción. Esta documentación es su evidencia exactas.

Llamar a la División de Vivienda y Renovación Comunal del Estado de Nueva York (DHCR, por sus siglas en ingles) al (718) 739-6400, y pedir que le envíen el formulario de Queja de Calefacción y Agua Caliente. Llene el formulario y consigue la participación de todos los inquilinos en su edificio que pueden firmarlo. Reclame unaorden para restaurar la calefacción y el agua caliente, y que se reduzcan y congelen (¡ disculpe lo de “congelen”!) todas las rentas.

Necesitarán una fuerte asociación de inquilinos para obligar al casero a proporcionarcalefacción y agua caliente. Escriban y llamen al casero para demandar reparaciones y aceite. Prepárense para una huelga de renta ( sobre todo con asesoría legal)—de relámpago si es necesario.

Las leyes sobre la calefacción establecen también:
Que el Departamento de Reparaciones de Emergencia de la ciudad le proporcione la calefacción si el casero no lo hace. (No se siente en un bloque de hielo —otra vez, ¡ disculpe!—mientras espere que lo haga.)

Una multa de $250 to $500 al casero por cada día que se produzca la violación. (Peroverdad es que la Corte de Vivienda raras veces impone las multas, y menos aun las la cobra).
Una multa de $1,000 al casero si algún aparato de control automático se instala en la caldera para mantener la temperatura por debajo del mínimo legal.

Si el tanque de combustible de la caldera está vacío, los inquilinos tienen el derecho comprar su propio combustible después de haber pasado 24 horas sin calefacción y también sin obtener ninguna respuesta del casero. Esto no se aplica si la caldera estárota y necesita tanto reparación como combustible.

¡Cuidado! ¡proteja su dinero! Si los inquilinos deciden comprar el combustible, hay que seguir los procedimientos legales cuidadosamente. Consiga la ayuda y el consejo de un organizador de inquilinos. La existencia de leyes de calefacción y agua caliente vigentes no garantiza que el gobierno las implemente. No se quede helado por esperar que la ciudad o el estado actúe. ¡ Organízese!

If You Have Problems with Heat in your Buildingfrom Met Council
Use the form below to record the inside and outside temperature. Call the Weather Bureau at (212) 976-1212 to get the official outside temperature. Use a thermometer to take the temperature inside your apartment.

Call the Central Complaint Bureau at 311 or 212-NEW-YORK to register your complaint. You should call each day you have a heating problem. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Write and call your landlord. Send letters by certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy of the letter. Keep a list of each date and time you called your landlord to complain.

Consider organizing a tenant's association and filing an HP Action against your landlord in Housing Court. If you live in a rent regulated apartment, consider filing a complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Sample Heat RecordYou may duplicate this with additional rows as needed
Name: __________________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________

Outside Temp
Inside Temp

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Resolution calling upon the Public Service Commission to allow individual apartments to access real-time energy pricing through the use of smart meter

Before the New York City Council
Committee on Technology in Government
And Committee on Consumer Affairs

RE: Resolution calling upon the Public Service Commission to allow individual apartments to access real-time energy pricing through the use of smart meters

Chairperson Brewer and other Councilpersons on the Technology in Government and Consumer Affairs committees, my name is Lewis M. Kwit and I am President of Energy Investment Systems (EIS), a NYC consultant firm specializing in energy saving implementation strategies for multifamily buildings.

In October of 2003 we placed the first building in the City, a 48-unit cooperative at 322 Central Park West on Con Edison’s Rider M of the SC 8 tariff to purchase the “energy” portion of electricity based on hourly pricing of the New York Independent System Operator’s (ISO) Day Ahead Market. Three other buildings, 2 in which leaders of the city’s cooperative community live in followed suit.

These leaders, J. Reyes Montblanc, President of the HDFC Council, and Greg Carlson, Director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums, along with Peter Funk at 322 Central Park West and others have also joined together to form the Cooperative Coalition to Prevent Blackouts (CCPB). Energy Investment Systems serves as the CCPB’s technical consultant. In this capacity these buildings served as Guinea Pigs to purchase RTP power in the City and have continued to push the envelope by forming an aggregation to participate in the ISO’s Installed Capacity Special Case Resources curtailment incentive program (ICAP SCR).

From June of 2004 through June of 2006 EIS conducted a program called Real Time Pricing Demonstrations for Multifamily Buildings which was sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Public Service (PSC).

The first building at 322 CPW was the most advanced project and demonstrated a responsiveness to time sensitive rates which significantly reduced usage during weekday afternoons and nights when peaks occur for the generated portion of power and its delivery. Usage at 322 CPW increased during low priced periods corresponding to off-peak periods. Without price signals to show the differences in wholesale prices residents now pay the same for power at 3:00 AM when wholesale electricity is inexpensive as they do at 3:00 PM on a weekday heat wave when costs are dear and supply is strained.

The blackout in Queens this past summer made New Yorkers once again aware of the reliability limits to the City’s electrical system. Subsequent reports of even more widespread weaknesses throughout other neighborhoods raised alarm levels higher. This event underscored the need for electricity pricing incentives to stimulate responses to demand that reduce peak use. Real Time Pricing brings the economic law of supply and demand into the electricity marketplace to produce efficiencies in the delivery of service and its cost.

That the blackout happened in a time of escalating electricity prices added further injury to insult. New York residents and small businesses were rendered helpless by the blackout that they were helpless to prevent. As these residents who are charged flat rates throughout the day and evening, they have no price incentive to reduce usage when demand on the system and market prices are highest. On top of the losses they suffered, the flat rate structure prevents them from reducing their costs by reducing demand by shifting usage to lower demand periods. A free and open market should produce lower prices at times of lower demand. Real Time Pricing accomplishes this objective. By adding the element of time into the electricity equation residents have the opportunity to do well be doing good.

Today the PSC and Con Edison have not permitted individually metered apartments or single-family homes to purchase and install interval meters with automated meter reading (AMR) capacity. AMR is a feature of what the industry calls “smart meters”.

Smart meters also allow electricity to be measured in small time intervals to permit hourly pricing. The accepted standard interval for smart meters is a 15-minute period. AMR allows meters to be “read” remotely and furthermore allows data to be electronically communicated, analyzed and evaluated. These capacities are used for billing, to develop a better understanding of electric use and to measure curtailment. Curtailment is the conservation and reduction of electricity use during power emergencies. Obviously, if you want to reward end users for using less power when an emergency looms you must be capable of seeing how much power was used before and after on the same day and during other days when no emergency existed.

The CCPB advocates the implementation of smart meters for every electricity customer who wishes to be on a utility rate structure that is based upon the ISO’s Day Ahead Market. We have advocated a master/submetering configuration for apartments which receive bills directly from Con Ed. Such “direct metered” service from Con Ed costs between 15% and 30% more than master metered service that receives what is called a “bulk discount.”

As consumer advocates, the Coalition favors this Master/Submetering configuration as the preferred vehicle to promote time sensitivity for demand response and more importantly participation in curtailment programs of the ISO. Because the ISO provides incentives in 100 kilowatt curtailment blocks, it would literally take one hundred or more apartments to aggregate, inform about pending curtailment events, and trigger reliable responses.

While obviously not impossible, coordination would be less certain than to curtail an entire apartment building with full-time staff and more easily curtailable public spaces.

However, today there is no administrative pathway to master and submeter rental buildings that are direct metered. This presently means that about 2 million households are not able to participate in RTP electricity pricing structures or ISO curtailment incentive programs. As a result the only way that publicly spirited residents would be able to buy RTP-based power is through an alternative electricity provider, or ESCO and only if a smart meter were able to be installed for billing. Therefore, the existing resolution’s intent must be satisfied to allow consumers to impact both the price and reliability of electricity service. After all if a meter doesn’t exist to measure electricity by time, it is axiomatic that no time based billing is possible.

Demand Response is now a priority of the United States Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Public Service Commission.

The City of New York depends on Demand Response for its projections of electric capacity availability through 2012. Developing an advanced meter installation and automatic meter reading protocol, that does not cost consumers money up front, will empower consumers to impact the City’s electricity environment. The benefits of a robust demand response paradigm are:

1. Less pollution as dependency on least efficient, most polluting plants is reduced;

2. Lower prices as the most costly plants will be relied upon less frequently.

3. Stretching the impact of new power plants to satisfy a greater portion of existing load.

The City of New York has endorsed Real Time Pricing for some time. This resolution will allow the PSC to enjoy council support to promote RTP and demand response to the public at large. The penetration of advanced meters in New York State is only 1/10 of 1% according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Yet in neighboring Pennsylvania the percentage of advanced meters exceeds 52%.

One reason New York State is near the bottom for all States is because we have yet to acknowledge that RTP is beneficial for small utility customers, and that these small customers can make a difference in the way power is supplied and priced.

Resolution 425 implicitly recognizes the growing discretion regarding electricity use timing of the City’s vast residential sector.

We recommend that the resolution be enhanced to include single-family homes as well as direct metered apartments, which are similarly affected by the present inability to have advanced utility meters installed for billing. T

he residential sector has the ability to shift usage from times where electricity prices are high and supplies are short. More of us work from homes than ever before and the ability to run dishwashers, answer E-mails and vacuum the floor can all be done when electricity is less expensive and simultaneously its generation is less deleterious to our environment.

Once New Yorkers are permitted to save, by changing electric consumption patterns they will figure out the best ways for themselves to realize the savings. And everyone will benefit in the process.

Finally, the blackout that plagued areas of Queens highlights the need for competitive metering, Real Time Pricing and Demand Response. Nobody knows what straw will break the camel’s back for either the supply or delivery of power. Thus RTP is essential to trigger consumer responses when the threat of power emergencies exist. Pricing power at the same amount throughout the day is testimony that the existing consumer electric pricing system is not conducive to preventing blackouts.

For all of the reasons stated above on behalf of the Cooperative Coalition to Prevent Blackouts and Energy Investment Systems we strongly support Resolution 425 and urge its unanimous approval by the City Council.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Atlantic Yards Report: The Shiffman solution: a timeout for megadevelopment projects

Atlantic Yards Report: The Shiffman solution: a timeout for megadevelopment projects

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Shiffman solution: a timeout for megadevelopment projects

A recently broadcast CUNY Forum TV program, Megadevelopment in New York City, featured some lively discussion about major projects like Atlantic Yards and Columbia University's expansion in Manhattanville. Notably, pointing to the advent of a new governor, longtime community planner Ron Shiffman called for a timeout on megaprojects like Atlantic Yards so they don't get snagged in an eminent domain battle but rather emerge from a truly public process."New York City is expanding in population," acknowledged Shiffman, who formerly headed the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED) and now teaches at Pratt. "We’re going to need higher density development. But we should do it in a way that we don’t overwhelm the local physical social and economic infrastructure. The only way to do it well is by engaging the people who live in the area, as well as citywide interests."

State control

Council Member Melinda Katz of Queens, who chairs the Land Use Committee, acknowledged that it was "frustrating" that several major projects, including Battery Park City and Ground Zero, are "outside of our scope" because they're managed by the state. "We do hope that the state does it well." Shiffman, a former member of the City Planning Commission, pointed out that the plan in place for Battery Park City (BPC) was the third plan, as two previous versions were rejected after public discourse. He cited an enormous development--more than 300 acres--in Hamburg, Germany that has tried to draw on the example of BPC and other projects. "The first thing they did was engage the public in a discussion about the principles of what they want developed," he said. After that, the plan would go to the city council, go through a competition, then back to the council before the site would be subdivided and put up for bid.

Comparison to AYShiffman constrasted Hamburg's effort with two projects at home. “What we’re seeing at Atlantic Yards, and at Columbia today, is the public facilitating a private development without any prediscussion as to what would benefit the public as a whole, what social infrastructure, environmental infrastructure, and economic infrastructure we should be turning over to the city," said Shiffman, who has joined the advisory board of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. "It’s basically how to facilitate the goals of the private developer.”Affordable housing Host Bob Liff, senior VP of George Arzt Communications and a former journalist, pointed out how the Bloomberg administration now relies on market forces rather than city projects to jump-start affordable housing.

Katz called it "a balancing act." Depending on the financials, the housing could be affordable for people making 125% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or 60% of AMI. "You have to give incentives [to builders]," said Katz, who allowed that "anybody working for minimum wage" should be able to afford to live in the city. (The minimum wage in New York is $6.75, which means $14,040 annually at 40 hours/week. That's only 20% of AMI.)Shiffman pointed out that London and Munich have made affordable housing mandatory. If New York did so, it could produce "the subsidies for this city to truly grow in an equitable way."

Katz noted that, as the city does rezonings, "Everything becomes a precedent," so there's pressure to lower the eligible AMI and increase the percentage of affordable housing.

Shiffman praised the council and the mayor for requiring that affordable housing be permanent. "It’s not what we did stupidly when I was younger and thought that 30 years would never come," he said. "All of sudden, those subsidies expire. We can’t do that any longer. I think, in their wisdom, that’s what they did. They still haven’t made it mandatory, it’s just a goal.”Note that the Atlantic Yards affordable housing would last 30 years.

Eminent domainThe panelists tackled the issue of eminent domain. Negotiation, said Katz is the best way. James Gill, Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, commented, "Eminent domain seems to be getting a little out of hand. To me, it’s something you go to as a last resort."

Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, Chairman of Community Board 9 in Manhattan, where Columbia plans to expand, was emphatic. "Eminent domain, when you take private property to give it to a private developer, is nothing but thievery," he said. "If the government takes a piece of property to build a hospital or to build a school, that is the proper use of eminent domain."Katz observed, "There’s going to be more and more court cases. No one wants be the test case."

The Shiffman solution

Shiffman offered a solution. "The next governor… is going to have to govern when all of these projects will come to fruition. He will either be getting the acclaim for the success of it or have to reap the burden of the failure of these projects. The gubernatorial candidates should call for a timeout on these large scale development projects and find a way to facilitate a public process that enables them to go ahead after public review… and really carefully look at how eminent domain is used in the future, so it meets the Kelo requirement, that there be preplanning, not planning after the fact, such as Atlantic Yards, but preplanning, and that there be the dispersal of the property if it’s taken, solely for a public purpose, and not for one developer.”

His reading to the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo eminent domain decision tracks that of some Atlantic Yards critics and opponents; while the court upheld the use of eminent domain in New London, CT, it did so only because it was preceded by an open planning process. (However, it's likely that an eminent domain lawsuit will be filed, if not resolved, before the next governor takes office.) Liff played devil's advocate. After all, he said, such projects do produce public benefits via property taxes.

Shiffman didn't buy it. “That has to occur after a public discourse… and to make sure that the beneficiary is not a single developer," he said, suggesting that the process involving developer Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) violates "my reading of Kelo… It has to be used very surgically.”Time for new boardsThere's aother argument for Shiffman's solution. The new governor, almost assuredly Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer, will want to replace board members appointed by outgoing Republican Gov. George Pataki, including those on the ESDC.As the New York Observer reports in an article this week headlined Spitzer Readies Long Knives For Pataki’s Appointees:

It is not just Peter Kalikow, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whom Mr. Spitzer will call upon to step down, but the rank-and-file members of numerous boards that set policy, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Empire State Development Corporation and the Thruway Authority....Certainly, appointees like Mr. Kalikow won’t be inclined to make this any easier for Mr. Spitzer, who has angered Pataki loyalists with relentless, sometimes personal criticism of the Governor and the people who serve him. At an upstate appearance in September, for instance, the Democrat said that he would replace Charles Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, with someone “who knows where money needs to be spent, and not just hanging out in Manhattan, going to cocktail parties with celebrities.

Robert Moses redux?

A student questioner suggested that the use of eminent domain echoed that Robert Moses, in his mid-century effort to rebuild the city via various authorities, with little oversight.

(CUNY Forum is a monthly town meeting that brings prominent New Yorkers together with faculty and students of the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.)Shiffman commented, "I think what’s happening is we’re slipping into a belief that if we have authorities we can overcome local regulatory devices. I think that’s a big, fundamental mistake. The importance of UDC [Urban Development Corporation] and the EDC [Economic Development Corporation] in the case of Battery Park City is to facilitate development once there’s common agreement on a set of goals. To override local goals and local desires and to use the power of eminent domain I think in the long run is going to come back and haunt development in the city."

The MTA & AYA member of the audience asked why the Metropolitan Transportation Authority sold rights to the Vanderbilt Yard in Brooklyn for "a small fraction of appraised value." Shiffman responded, "Because there really isn’t a planning process… We’re not only disposing of it at a below-market cost, we’re also not reaping the kind of public benefits we should be reaping"

Given that they are public land, the Vanderbilt Yard and the Sunnyside Yards in Queens demand "a common set of ideals and goals," Shiffman asserted. He added that the Atlantic Yards project, with the currently projected population, would actually lead to a decrease in the amount of open space per capita.

He offered an alternative path to affordable housing rather than the privately negotiated Community Benefits Agreement. "We have to make sure that it isn’t only the advocacy efforts of a group like ACORN that fight for inclusionary housing, but that the affordability be mandated upfront, if it’s public land," he said.

"Then, after all of those are taken into consideration, when we can weigh the public benefit, then we can determine what the true price should be. If you break it up into small parcels, and allow it to be bid out…then you get a true public-private partnership, not the kind of development that we have today."BPC examplesAt one point, Gill suggested one solution to the city's shrinking space for development: more landfill adding to Battery Park City. "You could do whatever you wanted with that 50 acres," he said.

He added, "Properties like Battery Park City belong to the public, not simply the people who live there… We go out of way to indicate that people are welcome to use our parks and our gardens… that’s the way it ought to be."

Where to go?

One student asked a basic but poignant question: "Where do all the residents go, after they’re priced out? Does the city have a plan?"Katz handled it a bit uneasily. "We are trying to create as much affordable housing as we can," she said. But the question remains: if rents continue rising in working-class districts, and the pool of affordable housing doesn't commensurately, where will people go?

How will reform of the city's 421-a tax break play out?

# posted by Norman Oder @ 7:04 AM

Regarding the Columbia University Development plans in Manhattanville, which encompasses the area of 125th ST to 133rd St, Broadway to the Hudson River, I see government working against the taxpayer, the ordinary citizen. I own a business property for 34 years and I'm a 100% WBE, NYC and NYS certified and Mr. Bollinger, Pres.of Columbia University, known for free speech and affirmative action support, wants to forcibly strip me of my property by the use of eminent domain. CU has purchased Manhattanville property for the past six years, boarded it up, kept it vacant, hung "fake" for rent signs and degraded the area around me for their handy purpose of stealing it away from the taxpayer. My building at 3229 Broadway is on the State and National register of historic buildings, CU has the first Masters program in historic preservation and they plan to bulldoze my property after they steal it by eminent domain for their private purposes, a business park for biotech, retail shopping, some academic use, restaurants, etc. They are corporate in every way but legally. The so called benevolent institution, Columbia University is not what they say they are. They misuse their power and influence at the expense of a minority community in West Harlem.

# posted by hudson : 10:25 AM

Post a Comment

CUNY Forum: Mega Development in New York City: Policies and Priorities

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Home : CUNY Forum : Audio/Video Archive :

CUNY Forum: Mega Development in New York City: Policies and Priorities
Taped: 09/26/2006 Running Time: 1:00


The CUNY Forum is a monthly town meeting that brings prominent New Yorkers together with faculty and students of the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

The topic this month is development, especially mega-development. We want to talk about Hudson Yards, Atlantic Yards, Ground Zero, all proposed mega development sites that are on state land beyond the reach of the city’s community review process. Other proposed megadevelopments, such as Columbia’s plans for a new Manhattanville campus, fall into a grayer area on community review. Even as some of these developments get stalled in disputes over everything from design considerations to eminent domain questions, public benefit authorities such as Battery Park City and Roosevelt Island have been able to proceed with aggressive building programs incorporating environmental sensitivities and affordable housing. What is the future of large development in the city, and what does it mean for the city’s future?

Produced by CUNY-TV and the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs.

James Gill Chairman, Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority
Melinda R. Katz NYC Council Member, District 29
Bob Liff Senior Vice President, George Arzt Communications
Ron Schiffman Pratt Institute, Brooklyn
Jordi Reyes-Montblanc Chairman Community Board No. 9 Manhattan

Next Program

Join Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez & NYC Affordable Housing Advocates at a rally to extend the 421-a exclusion zone and mandate Affordable Housing

From: liz hynes
To: reysmont@hdfccentral.org
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 05:00 pm
Subject: Attn: From the Office of Assemblyman Vito Lopez

Dear Mr. Reyes-Montblanc,
Attached is the press alert and information sheet regarding the 421a Press Conference scheduled for Thursday.

As of yet, we do not have a copy of the bill in final form (in the District Office or in Albany) so I'm unable to provide that for you at this time. The main points of the legislation required a 70%-30% affordability clause if developers would like to take advantage of the tax abatement, and language supporting prevailing wages in all of those buildings.

The Assemblyman would like to expand this program city-wide to address the low and middle income housing crisis effecting so many neighborhoods. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and let me know if a representative from CB 9 will be attending the press conference.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Hynes
Legislative Assistant
53rd Assembly District

Join Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez,
SEIU Local 32BJ President Michael Fishman,
And NYC Affordable Housing Advocates
at a rally to extend the 421-a exclusion zone
and mandate
Affordable Housing in

WHAT: Rally to Extend the 421-a Exclusion Zone City-Wide

WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 2006 11:15 am

WHERE: New York City Hall Steps

The Bloomberg Administration has proposed some minor changes to the
421-A property tax abatement program.
While the Administration has agreed to eliminate the certificate program,
they have not proposed a sufficient expansion of the exclusion zone,
or offered to pay building service workers prevailing wage.

We need Affordable Housing and Good Jobs
beyond TRIBECA.


For more information please contact
Alison Hirsh or Stephen Levin at (718) 963-7029

Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez Urges New York State to permanently change the 421-a property tax abatement program to incentivize on-site affordable housing development

421a Recipients will be required to build on-site affordable housing,
and in large, majority luxury developments,
pay building service workers a prevailing wage

The original intent of the law establishing the 421-a tax abatement as-of-right in New York City was to encourage housing development in an area where market rate development was not occurring and would not occur without the tax abatement. Since the inception of the 421-a, the New York City housing market has changed dramatically. Market rate development is occurring at a rapid pace and no longer needs the tax abatement to flourish.

The city is now faced with a different crisis: as the real estate market is flourishing across the city, low and moderate income residents are no longer able to afford to live within the five boroughs. Neighborhoods that were once marred by empty lots and vacant land are becoming victims of overdevelopment. Land to build new affordable units is becoming increasingly scarce. Rents are rising and workers’ wages are dropping. New Yorkers need access to more affordable housing and more good jobs. Every community in the city should benefit from affordable housing and good jobs.

Affordable Housing and Good Jobs

In 2005, New York City implemented historic policies in Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Brooklyn to create affordable housing and good jobs. By changing the 421a program city-wide, the success of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning can be mirrored throughout the five boroughs.

City-Wide Affordable Housing

Problem: The 421-a tax abatement will cost New York City $320 million this year alone yet according to a report by the NYC Independent Budget Office in 2003 only 7% of units built by 421-a recipients are affordable to low- and moderate- income families. Many of those affordable units are built in neighborhoods with poorer housing markets, far from the original market-rate units.

A 10912 (Lopez)/ S. 57884 (Maltese, Golden) does the following:
1. Requires all 421-a recipients to build affordable housing.
30% of the units must be affordable for individuals making less than 60% Area Median Income, or
20% must be affordable for individuals making less than 60% Area Median Income and 20% affordable for individuals making less than 100% Area Median Income. Thus mandating that a total of 40% of the units be affordable.
2. Requires all affordable units to be built on-site.

Good Jobs:

Problem: Although roughly 80% of building service workers in New York City are paid the prevailing union rate, as many as 50% of large buildings that receive the 421-a tax abatement do not pay building service employees prevailing wages and benefits.

A 10912 (Lopez)/ S 57884 (Maltese, Golden: Requires recipients of the 421-a tax abatement that build large buildings (50 or more units) with a majority of market-rate units to pay building service employees prevailing wages and benefits.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

2006-2007 Rent Guidelines Board ORDERS

To: reysmont@hdfccentral.org
Subject: Rent Guideline Board Orders 2006-2007
From: "Hell's Kitchen Online"
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 02:40:41 -0400 (EDT)

Hell's Kitchen Online
Hell's Kitchen OnlineOctober 14, 2006

2006-2007 RGB ORDERS

Many residents of Hell's Kitchen are rent stabilized tenants. Although some subscribers to the Hell's Kitchen list are also subscribers to the TenantNet list, the overlap is not broad. So if you already received this yesterday from TenantNet, we felt the value of the information outweighs some duplication.

In this issue we include the full text of the latest orders of the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. These orders, which are in effect from October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007, affect only rent stabilized tenants.

Rent Control apartments are not affected by these orders, except that special guidelines are included for units moving from Rent Control to Rent Stabilization (which is one method to determine the 'Fair Market Rent' when a tenant in a new rent stabilized unit challenges the first stabilized rent being charged).

For most tenants, the SHORT ANSWER is that if your rent stabilized lease is renewed during this period, the permissible increase is 4.25% for a one-year renewal and 7.25% for a two-year renewal (where heat is provided).

If you have questions on any aspects of these orders, please join the TenantNet Forum at http://www.tenant.net/phpBB2

2006 Apartment & Loft Order #38June 27, 2006
Order Number 38 - Apartments and Lofts, rent levels for leases commencing October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE NEW YORK CITY RENT GUIDELINES BOARD BY THE RENT STABILIZATION LAW OF 1969, as amended, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, as amended, implemented by Resolution No 276 of 1974 of the New York City Council and extended by Chapter 82 of the Laws of 2003, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) hereby adopts the following levels of fair rent increases over lawful rents charged and paid on September 30, 2006. These rent adjustments will apply to rent stabilized apartments with leases commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and through September 30, 2007. Rent guidelines for loft units subject to Section 286 subdivision 7 of the Multiple Dwelling Law are also included in this order.

Together with such further adjustments as may be authorized by law, the annual adjustment for renewal leases for apartments shall be:

Where heat is provided or required to be provided to a dwelling unit by an owner from a central or individual system at no charge to the tenant, the adjustments are as follows:

For a one-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 4.25%

For a two-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 7.25%

Where heat is neither provided nor required to be provided to a dwelling unit by an owner from a central or individual system, the adjustments are as follows:

For a one-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 3.75%

For a two-year renewal lease commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 6.75%

These adjustments shall also apply to dwelling units in a structure subject to the partial tax exemption program under Section 421a of the Real Property Tax Law, or in a structure subject to Section 423 of the Real Property Tax Law as a Redevelopment Project.

No vacancy allowance is permitted except as provided by sections 19 and 20 of the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997.

There shall be no supplemental adjustment for apartments renting below any specified amount for renewal leases.

There shall be no equalization allowance for apartments continuously occupied for a specified period of time for renewal leases.

In the event of a sublease governed by subdivision (e) of section 2525.6 of the Rent Stabilization Code, the allowance authorized by such subdivision shall be 10%.

The Rent Guidelines Board adopts the following levels of rent increase above the "base rent", as defined in Section 286, subdivision 4, of the Multiple Dwelling Law, for units to which these guidelines are applicable in accordance with Article 7-C of the Multiple Dwelling Law:

For one-year increase periods commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 3.75%

For two-year increase periods commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007: 6.75%

No Vacancy Allowance is permitted under this Order. Therefore, except as otherwise provided in Section 286, subdivision 6, of the Multiple Dwelling Law, the rent charged to any tenant for a vacancy tenancy commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007 may not exceed the "base rent" referenced above plus the level of adjustment permitted above for increase periods.

For the purposes of these guidelines any lease or tenancy for a period up to and including one year shall be deemed a one year lease or tenancy, and any lease or tenancy for a period of over one year and up to and including two years shall be deemed a two-year lease or tenancy.

Where a lease for a dwelling unit in effect on May 31, 1968 or where a lease in effect on June 30, 1974 for a dwelling unit which became subject to the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969, by virtue of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 and Resolution Number 276 of the New York City Council, contained an escalator clause for the increased costs of operation and such clause is still in effect, the lawful rent on September 30, 2006 over which the fair rent under this Order is computed shall include the increased rental, if any, due under such clause except those charges which accrued within one year of the commencement of the renewal lease. Moreover, where a lease contained an escalator clause that the owner may validly renew under the Code, unless the owner elects or has elected in writing to delete such clause, effective no later than October 1, 2006 from the existing lease and all subsequent leases for such dwelling unit, the increased rental, if any, due under such escalator clause shall be offset against the amount of increase authorized under this Order.

All rent adjustments lawfully implemented and maintained under previous apartment orders and included in the base rent in effect on September 30, 2006 shall continue to be included in the base rent for the purpose of computing subsequent rents adjusted pursuant to this Order.

Under Section 26-513(b)(1) of the New York City Administrative Code, and Section 9(e) of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, the Rent Guidelines Board is obligated to promulgate special guidelines to aid the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal in its determination of initial legal regulated rents for housing accommodations previously subject to the City Rent and Rehabilitation Law which are the subject of a tenant application for adjustment. The Rent Guidelines Board hereby adopts the following Special Guidelines:
For dwelling units subject to the Rent and Rehabilitation Law on September 30, 2006, which become vacant after September 30, 2006, the special guideline shall be the greater of:

50% above the maximum base rent, or

The Fair Market Rent for existing housing as established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the New York City Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area pursuant to Section 8(c) (1) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. section 1437f (c) (1) ) and 24 C.F.R. Part 888, with such Fair Market Rents to be adjusted based upon whether the tenant pays his or her own gas and/or electric charges as part of his or her rent as such gas and/or electric charges are accounted for by the New York City Housing Authority.
Such HUD-determined Fair Market Rents will be published in the Federal Register, to take effect on October 1, 2006.

The permissible increase for decontrolled units as referenced in Order 3a which become decontrolled after September 30, 2006, shall be the greater of:

50% above the maximum base rent, or

The Fair Market Rent for existing housing as established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the New York City Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area pursuant to Section 8(c) (1) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. section 1437f (c) (1) ) and 24 C.F.R. Part 888, with such Fair Market Rents to be adjusted based upon whether the tenant pays his or her own gas and/or electric charges as part of his or her rent as such gas and/or electric charges are accounted for by the New York City Housing Authority.
Such HUD-determined Fair Market Rents will be published in the Federal Register, to take effect on October 1, 2006.

Rentals charged and paid in excess of the levels of rent increase established by this Order shall be fully credited against the next month's rent.

The Rent Guidelines Board is authorized to promulgate rent guidelines governing apartment units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969, as amended, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, as amended. The purpose of these guidelines is to implement the public policy set forth in Findings and Declaration of Emergency of the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 (§26-501 of the N.Y.C. Administrative Code) and in the Legislative Finding contained in the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (L.1974 c. 576, §4 (§2)).

The Rent Guidelines Board is also authorized to promulgate rent guidelines for loft units subject to Section 286 subdivision 7 of the Multiple Dwelling Law. The purpose of the loft guidelines is to implement the public policy set forth in the Legislative Findings of Article 7-C of the Multiple Dwelling Law (Section 280).

Dated: June 27, 2006
Marvin Markus
New York City Rent Guidelines Board

2006 Hotel Order #36June 27, 2006
Order Number 36 - Hotels, Rooming Houses, Single Room Occupancy Buildings and Lodging Houses. Rent levels to be effective for leases commencing October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE NEW YORK CITY RENT GUIDELINES BOARD BY THE RENT STABILIZATION LAW OF 1969, as amended, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, as amended, implemented by Resolution No. 276 of 1974 of the New York City Council and extended by Chapter 82 of the Laws of 2003, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 1043 of the New York City Charter, that the Rent Guidelines Board hereby adopts the following levels of fair rent increases over lawful rents charged and paid on September 30, 2006.

This order shall apply to units in buildings subject to the Hotel Section of the Rent Stabilization Law (Sections 26-504(c) and 26-506 of the N.Y.C. Administrative Code), as amended, or the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (L.1974, c. 576 §4(§5(a)(7))). With respect to any tenant who has no lease or rental agreement, the level of rent increase established herein shall be effective as of one year from the date of the tenant's commencing occupancy, or as of one year from the date of the last rent adjustment charged to the tenant, or as of October 1, 2006, whichever is later. This anniversary date will also serve as the effective date for all subsequent Rent Guidelines Board Hotel Orders, unless the Board shall specifically provide otherwise in the Order. Where a lease or rental agreement is in effect, this Order shall govern the rent increase applicable on or after October 1, 2006 upon expiration of such lease or rental agreement, but in no event prior to one year from the commencement date of the expiring lease, unless the parties have contracted to be bound by the effective date of this Order.

Pursuant to its mandate to promulgate rent adjustments for hotel units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969, as amended, (§26-510(e) of the N.Y.C Administrative Code) the Rent Guidelines Board hereby adopts the following rent adjustments:
The allowable level of rent adjustment over the lawful rent actually charged and paid on September 30, 2006 shall be:

1) Residential Class A (apartment) hotels

2) Lodging houses

3) Rooming houses (Class B buildings containing less than 30 units)

4) Class B hotels

5) Single Room Occupancy buildings (MDL section 248 SRO's)

Except that the allowable level of rent adjustment over the lawful rent actually charged and paid on September 30, 2006 shall be 0% if permanent rent stabilized or rent controlled tenants paying no more than the legal regulated rent, at the time that any rent increase in this Order would otherwise be authorized, constitute fewer than 80% of all units in a building that are used or occupied, or intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied in whole or in part as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings.

No "vacancy allowance" is permitted under this order. Therefore, the rents charged for tenancies commencing on or after October 1, 2006 and on or before September 30, 2007 may not exceed the levels over rentals charged on September 30, 2006 permitted under the applicable rent adjustment provided above.

It is expressly understood that the rents collectible under the terms of this Order are intended to compensate in full for all services provided without extra charge on the statutory date for the particular hotel dwelling unit or at the commencement of the tenancy if subsequent thereto. No additional charges may be made to a tenant for such services, however such charges may be called or identified.

The Rent Guidelines Board is authorized to promulgate rent guidelines governing hotel units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969, as amended, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, as amended. The purpose of these guidelines is to implement the public policy set forth in Findings and Declaration of Emergency of the Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 (§26-501 of the N.Y.C. Administrative Code) and in the Legislative Finding contained in the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (L.1974 c. 576, §4 (§2)).

Dated: June 27, 2006
Marvin Markus
New York City Rent Guidelines Board