This bill would 1) resolve awning judgments issued within the last two years immediately prior to enactment of this law for business owners who cure their violation; 2) repay moneys received for settled judgments to business owners who cured their awning violation within the last two years immediately prior to enactment of this law; and 3) institute a six-month moratorium on penalties for awnings in existence at the time of enactment that do not comply with the Building Code or Zoning Resolution. The Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) would be required to coordinate an educational program for businesses regarding awning regulations. Finally, the Department of City Planning, DOB and the Landmarks Preservation Commission would be required to report to the Mayor and the Speaker on whether current legal parameters for awnings are still relevant and appropriate and to suggest changes if no longer relevant.
- Laid Over in Committee
Int. No. 728
By Council Members Espinal and Yeger
A Local Law in relation to establishing a temporary program to resolve awning violations and provide an education campaign for awning violations
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Temporary program to resolve judgments for awning violations. a. Definitions. For purposes of this local law, the following terms have the following meanings:
Administrative tribunal. The term “administrative tribunal” means the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, or any other tribunal authorized to adjudicate applicable violations.
Applicable violations. The term “applicable violations” means any violation of section BC 105 of the building code or of paragraph (a) of section 32-653 or paragraph (a) of section 42-542 of the zoning resolution alleged in a notice of violation issued within 2 years immediately prior to the enactment of this local law.
Resolve. The term “resolve” means, with respect to an outstanding judgment of the administrative tribunal, to conclude all administrative proceedings in connection with a notice of violation.
Respondent. The term “respondent” means a person or entity named as the subject of a notice of violation returnable to, or a judgment issued by, the administrative tribunal.
b. Program parameters. The commissioner of finance shall establish a temporary program to resolve outstanding judgments imposed by the administrative tribunal for applicable violations. The temporary program shall be in operation for 180 days, during which time respondents who are subject to a judgement entered after an adjudication and finding of violation with respect to an applicable violation may resolve such judgments by curing the violation within 60 days rather than paying a penalty.
c. Resolution of outstanding judgments. 1. A judgment may not be resolved under the temporary program to resolve outstanding judgments pursuant to subdivision b of this section if the judgment had been the subject of a settlement agreement with the department of finance or the department of law that was executed under the temporary program to resolve outstanding judgments established by the department of finance pursuant to local law number 45 for the year 2016.
2. A judgment may not be resolved under the temporary program to resolve outstanding judgments pursuant to subdivision b of this section unless the respondent:
(a) Has received an applicable violation;
(b) Admits liability for the applicable violation;
(c) Demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department of buildings that the condition cited in the applicable violation has been corrected; and
(d) Seeks resolution of all outstanding judgments against such respondent for applicable violations.
3. Where a respondent satisfies the conditions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this subdivision, no penalty of any kind may be imposed and any penalty already imposed is voided.
4. If a violation that is the subject of a written agreement with the department of finance pursuant to paragraph 2 of this subdivision is not corrected to the satisfaction of the department of buildings within the required 60 day period, any monetary judgment imposed plus accrued interest shall have full legal effectiveness and enforceability.
d. Program expiration. After the temporary program operated pursuant to this section has concluded, any judgment that remains outstanding and has not been resolved by this program shall have full legal effectiveness and enforceability regardless of whether it could have been resolved under this program.
e. Exception. The provisions of the temporary program operated pursuant to this section shall not apply where the applicable awning creates an imminent threat to public health or safety.
f. Notification of public. The commissioner of finance shall publicize the temporary program operated pursuant to this section to maximize public awareness of, and participation in, such program.
g. Rules. The commissioner of finance may promulgate rules for the implementation of this section.
h. Nothing in this section creates a new private right of action for any respondent.
§ 2. Subject to the requirements of subdivision c of section 1 of this local law, any respondent that has (a) settled a judgment for an applicable violation or (b) has otherwise admitted guilt and paid a fine to the department of buildings for an applicable violation, and has cured such violation to the satisfaction of the department of buildings, has 180 days from enactment of this law to apply to recover from the department of finance all moneys paid for imposed penalties. The commissioner of finance shall make publicly available on the department’s website an application to be used by respondents.
§ 3. Temporary program to resolve notices of violation for awning violations. a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, where a notice of violation is issued on or after the effective date of this subdivision for an applicable violation, for an awning in existence on the effective date of this subdivision, no penalty may be imposed, nor may injunctive relief be sought to restrain such violation, for a period of 6 months commencing on the effective date of this subdivision.
b. No penalty may be subsequently sought or imposed for any person or entity that receives a notice of violation pursuant to subdivision a of this section and cures such violation to the satisfaction of the department of buildings during such 6 month period.
c. Exception. The provisions of subdivision a of this section shall not apply where the applicable awning creates an imminent threat to public health or safety.
d. Notification of public. The commissioner of buildings shall publicize the temporary program pursuant to section two to maximize public awareness of, and participation in, such program.
e. Rules. The commissioner of buildings may promulgate rules for the implementation of this section.
§ 4. The department of buildings, in consultation with the department of small business services, shall develop a program to educate the business community about the requirements of section BC 105 of the building code and sections 32-653 and 42-542 of the zoning resolution. The program shall be implemented as soon as practicable and continue until a period of time lasting no shorter than 7 months that is deemed sufficient by the commissioner of buildings to provide reasonable notice to the public.
§ 5. a. There shall be an interagency task force to explore issues related to awning regulations in the building code and zoning resolution.
b. The task force shall consist of the following 7 members:
1. The commissioner of buildings, or their designee, who shall serve as co-director of the task force;
2. The chair of the city planning commissioner, or their designee, who shall serve as co-director of the task force;
3. The commissioner of the landmarks preservation commission, or their designee;
4. Two members appointed by the speaker of the council; and
5. Two members appointed by the mayor.
c. The task force shall consult, on an ongoing basis, with businesses across the city to determine the common issues facing businesses that have or want to install awnings and to determine if these issues can be addressed by changing the current regulations in the zoning resolution or building code.
d. The task force shall meet not less than quarterly, and such meetings shall be considered a meeting of a public body subject to article 7 of the public officers law.
e. Within 12 months of the enactment of the local law that added this section, the task force must complete an evaluation of the relevance and appropriateness of current regulations for awnings in the zoning resolution and building code and the issues faced by businesses, especially small businesses, in complying with these regulations. The task force shall issue a report to the mayor and the speaker including its findings and recommendations, if any, for improving these regulations.
f. This task force shall dissolve upon submission of its report as required by subdivision e of this section.
§ 6. This local law takes effect 120 days after it becomes law.
LS # 4911
1/9/18; 5:16 p.m.