New NIMBY Tool

City Council Member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer are seeking a rapid zoning change to retroactively block an approved development on the Lower East Side. In another chilling blow to as-of-right development, the pols are using a new law sponsored by Chin that became final without the Mayor’s signature, perhaps because he didn’t want to be associated with it or just didn’t want to challenge the Council with a veto.

Although the latest 421-a law provides benefits for condo projects, new City regulations will make them practically impossible. In order to apply for the tax exemption, developers must have a sales contract on every single unit in the project within a year of the building’s completion and agreement by each purchaser to remain a primary resident for five years. Because the developer has to make the deadline and clear other hurdles, buyers can’t know if they will get the exemption when they sign a contract.

Title insurance brokers can’t buy you lunch or take you to a golf outing anymore under new rules issued by the State Division of Financial Services effective December 18th. The DFS is cracking down on “marketing expenses” that it believes inflate rates.

The New York City Housing Authority confirmed to the Daily News this week that, until 2016, none of the NYCHA workers assigned to do lead paint inspections had Lead-Based Paint Visual Assessment certificates, which the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) requires. And, until August, none of the NYCHA workers assigned to lead paint cleanup had the required Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Lead Renovator Certification. Private owners would be facing huge fines and jail time for NYCHA’s failures reported in recent weeks.

In an unusual public move, the Manhattan Housing Court Advisory Council has ordered Judge Susan Avery removed from the bench for conflicts, delaying cases, and unprofessional behavior. Avery was deemed “not qualified” by the Bar Association, twice.

Meanwhile, the Appellate Division, First Department, recently refused to remove a non-primary resident in 92 Cooper v. Roughton-Hester, saying that the tenant’s Pennsylvania voter registration and tax filings weren’t dispositive by themselves and that a new trial was required.

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