Holden Introduces Legislation Combating Illegal Housing and Building Issues


City Council member Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside) along with fellow Queens Council members Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven) and Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) yesterday introduced a package of bills targeting quality of life issues like stalled construction sites, abandoned houses and illegal conversions and occupations.

Also co-sponsoring the package were Council members Joe Borelli (R-SI), Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) and Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx),

City Council Member Bob Holden

“One of the major issues that I ran on was to alleviate quality of life concerns that constituents were facing in District 30. Immediately after taking office, I began the legislative drafting process for several bills, and am excited to introduce them in the City Council finally,” said Holden.

The the first two pieces of legislation in the package target occupancy issues in buildings. Introduction 1123, would require a new or amended certificate of occupancy when the cost of alteration of a building exceeds $125,000. The purpose of the bill is to address the practice of individuals skirting Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) requirements. While Introduction 1124, would give the Building’s commissioner the ability to padlock vacant property with $25,000 or more in unpaid fines.

The next two bills, tackle housing issues, in particular foreclosures and illegal conversions across the City. Introduction 1125, would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to report foreclosure data collected, by district, to the respective Council Members.

Currently KCP is following a developing story involving the seizure of over 60 properties by HPD as part of an ongoing investigation into a real estate scandal involving multiple city agencies.

While Introduction 1126, would create a permanent interagency illegal conversions and occupancies task force. The task force would be comprised of various city agencies and will issue reports and recommendations on how the City can combat illegal conversions and occupancies.

The final bills in the package deal with permit and construction issues related in regards to the Department of Buildings (DOB).

Introduction 1127, would require the DOB to expedite work permits where additional permits are required by DOB to proceed with ongoing work, and would also require DOB to expedite amendments to permit applications. Construction sites often stall because of bureaucratic red tape, and this bill would help alleviate the issue.

Additionally, Introduction 1128, would require that the green wooden fences at construction sites where work has been stalled for over two years be replaced with chain link fences. Green wooden fences on stalled construction sites are often vandalized and invite elements that depreciate the quality of life for area residents.

“Tackling quality of life issues is something I have been doing as a civic leader and community board member for the past four decades, and now as an elected official it is incumbent on me to use the power of the office to do right by my constituents and fellow city residents,” added Holden.

The bills were introduced in the New York City Council Stated Meeting on September 26, 2018, and had been referred to the Housing and Buildings Committee.

“I thank my colleagues in government for co-sponsoring this legislation, and hope to lobby more of my fellow Council Members to get behind these bills,” Holden added.