Queens Lawmakers on the Move Jan. 11, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Lauds Governor’s Support for Absentee Ballot Reforms

Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris released the following statement on Friday about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement he will include some absentee ballot reforms proposed by Gianaris as part of his State of the State agenda:

“As our Democratic supermajority continues to reform the way elections are run, fixing our latest-in-the-nation vote counting status will go a long way towards restoring faith in election results. I am proud to have authored this important legislation so we are never again still counting votes into the new year.” 

Gianaris authored the legislation to enact two of the reforms mentioned by the Governor:

Earlier Counting of Absentee Ballots: S.1027 which would require absentee ballots to be canvassed prior to Election Day with results to be announced after polls close on election night.

Earlier Processing of Absentee Ballot Applications: S.516, which would require absentee ballot applications to be processed and approved faster pursuant to a specific rolling calendar.

BP Richards Hosts Land Use Public Hearing

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will hold a regular Public Hearing on Land Use. 

The agenda includes the following two items:

  1. An application submitted by the New York Department of City Planning pursuant to  a zoning text amendment to update the Special Regulations Applying to Flood Hazard Areas (Article VI, Chapter 4) of the NYC Zoning Resolution.
  1. An application submitted by the Department of City Planning for the amendment of the Zoning Map:

A.) Changing from an R3-1 District to an R3X District property bounded by: a. 157th Avenue, a southwesterly boundary line of the NYC Transit Authority Railroad Right-of-Way (Rockaway Beach Division), 159th Avenue, 102nd Street, a line 370 feet northerly of 160th Avenue, a line midway between 101st Street and 102nd Street, 160th Avenue, 102nd Street, a line 100 feet southerly of 160th Avenue, the northerly prolongation of the U.S. Pierhead and Bulkhead Line of Hawtree Basin (westerly portion), 160th Avenue, 95th Street, 164th Avenue, the U.S. Pierhead and Bulkhead Line of Shellbank Basin (easterly and northerly portions), and the southerly prolongation of the westerly street line of 94th Street; and b. 164th Avenue, the U.S. Pierhead and Bulkhead line of Hawtree Basin (westerly portion), the northerly boundary line of a park (F.M. Charles Memorial Park), the U.S. Pierhead and Bulkhead line of Shellbank Basin (easterly portion), 165th Avenue, and a line midway between 95th Street and 96th Street.

B.) Changing from an R3-2 District to an R3X District property bounded by 155th Avenue and its northwesterly centerline prolongation, a line midway between Lahn Street and Huron Street, 156th Avenue, a line midway between Huron Street and Bridgeton Street, 155th Avenue, a southwesterly boundary line of the NYC Transit Authority Railroad Right-of-Way (Rockaway Beach Division), 157th Avenue, 94th Street, 156th Avenue, and a line 100 feet northwesterly of Killarney Street.

C.) Changing from an R3-2 District to an R3-1 District property bounded by 155th Avenue, a line midway between Huron Street and Bridgeton Street, 156th Avenue, and a line midway between Lahn Street and Huron Street.

Location is within Queens Community Board District 10 in Howard Beach.

The public hearing will be streamed live at www.queensbp.org

Those who wish to testify may register for speaking time by visiting www.queensbp.org/landuse and submitting their contact information. Each registrant will receive a confirmation e-mail with instructions on how to participate in the live public hearing. Speaking time can also be arranged by calling (718) 286-3000 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. prior to the date of the hearing.

Written testimony is welcome from those unable to testify live. All written testimony must be received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 14, 2021 and may be submitted by e-mail to [email protected] or by conventional mail sent to the Office of the Queens Borough President at 120-55 Queens Boulevard – Room 226, Kew Gardens, NY 11424.

AG James Provides Eviction Guidance to Sheriffs’ Association

State Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James last week issued guidance to the New York State Sheriffs’ Association that provides key reminders regarding law enforcement’s role in the eviction process during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis.

“As the financial instability spurred by the coronavirus continues, it is imperative for the state to enforce laws that protect New Yorkers from unlawfully losing their homes,” said James. “My office remains willing and able to assist local sheriffs and law enforcement departments as they familiarize themselves with the new law, which they are charged with enforcing.”

On December 28, 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Evictions and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 was signed into law, providing protections for tenants at risk of eviction, including clarification for law enforcement officials carrying out evictions. The law allows tenants to get an automatic stay of eviction in all cases through May 1, 2021 by completing and sending a hardship declaration to their landlord, the court, a sheriff, marshal, or city constable. The law also makes all eviction warrants — those currently issued and those that will be issued — defective unless they contain specific language referencing the hardship declaration.

All COVID-19 guidance on tenant protections, among other important updates for the public and businesses, can be found on the OAG website. 

More from Around New York