Council Bill Would Protect Natural Disaster Victims from DOB Fines

Council Bill Would Protect Natural Disaster Victims from DOB Fines

PHOTO:  A Brooklyn city councilman has introduced a bill that would help property owners recover and rebuild without having to worry about being fined by the Buildings Department during the process. File Photo

By Michael V. Cusenza

A Brooklyn city councilman has introduced a piece of legislation, part of a larger package of bills, that seeks to protect property owners, lessees, or occupants from receiving fines and penalties from the Department of Buildings while City-operated natural-disaster recovery programs are evaluating, or have already scheduled their properties for repair and/or remediation.

The proposed legislation introduced last week by Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, would also create a reimbursement program for anyone who has already been forced to pay a penalty. The bill’s parameters are likely to be expanded to include violations received from other city agencies, including the Department of Sanitation, Treyger noted.

The bill would provide help to many who have dealt with, or are still dealing with, related issues stemming from the effects of Superstorm Sandy, and would also ensure that a fair enforcement policy is already in place in the event of future disasters, he added.

“People waiting for assistance from the City’s Build It Back program should not be issued a violation by the Department of Buildings and forced to pay a fine simply because the program had not yet repaired their property. It undermines the public’s trust, faith and willingness to participate in recovery programs,” Treyger said. “Nobody should be left worse off by the recovery process than if they never participated in it at all, and the onus should be on the City and contractors to comply with rules and regulations related to Sandy recovery work, not residents. When the City makes you wait for repairs, you should not be penalized for it. And, when the City hires a contractor to perform recovery work on your house, you should not be penalized if the City or its contractor fails to do the work properly.”


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