Grants the commissioner of buildings of New York City the power to waive provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to construction or alteration of multiple dwellings.
Ayes (47): Addabbo, Alesi, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Duane, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Kruger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Peralta, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (15): Adams, Avella, Dilan, Espaillat, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Krueger, Montgomery, Oppenheimer, Parker, Perkins, Rivera, Serrano, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to granting the commissioner of buildings of the city of New York the power to waive provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to the construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in such city
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This proposed legislation would authorize the Commissioner of Buildings of the City of New York to vary or modify a provision or requirement of the multiple dwelling law in its application to the construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in New York City, where strict compliance with such law would cause practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships.
REASONS FOR SUPPORT: The Commissioner of Buildings already may waive provisions of the Building Code pursuant to section 645 of the New York City Charter. This act would extend the Commissioner's waiver to the Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL), in order to address unique circumstances in the construction or alteration of buildings in New York City and that may cause practical difficulties in complying with provisions of the MDL.
Currently, only the Board of Standards and Appeals may issue variances of the multiple dwelling law in New York City. Nothing in this proposed legislation would affect this power of the Board of Standards and Appeals. This act would simply allow the agency to which an application is made to vary provisions of a law it is already authorized to enforce, thus streamlining the approval of permit applications.
This legislation will encourage safety-enhancing alterations in the thousands of New York City buildings constructed under the precursor to the MDL, the State Tenement Law of 1901 or 1929, or the building Codes of 1938. These are mostly wood-framed, non-fireproof buildings. The MDL has, in many cases, proven so prescriptive as to deter even simple alterations that would make these buildings safer. As a result, building owners allow the buildings to deteriorate, and tenants suffer the consequences.
For example, a five-story tenement building in Manhattan may have wooden stairs, doors that open directly into the stairway, and inadequate egress - taken together, a substantial safety risk. For an owner to upgrade or improve any of these individual features, the entire building may need to brought up to a standard under the MDL that is, as a practical matter, impossible, because of the physical layout of the building. Faced with a choice of a gut renovation or doing nothing, an owner might reasonably choose the latter course. If, however, the Buildings Department could grant a waiver of the MDL, improvements could be made that would substantially increase the safety of the building. Wooden stairs could be replaced with metal stairs, sprinklers could be installed
and doors could be adjusted - even if the stairs don't meet the required width called for under the MDL.
Accordingly, the Mayor urges the earliest possible favorable consideration of this proposal by the Legislature.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5484 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 25, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation to granting the commissioner of buildings of the city of New York the power to waive provisions of the multiple dwelling law with regard to the construction or alteration of multiple dwellings in such city THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The multiple dwelling law is amended by adding a new section 15 to read as follows: S 15. VARIATIONS. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER, FOR MULTIPLE DWELLINGS ERECTED, TO BE ERECTED OR ALTERED IN ANY CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE, WHERE COMPLIANCE WITH THE STRICT LETTER OF THIS CHAPTER CAUSES ANY PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES OR ANY UNNECESSARY HARDSHIPS, THE COMMISSIONER OF BUILDINGS OF SUCH CITY SHALL HAVE THE POWER, PROVIDED THE SPIRIT AND INTENT OF THIS CHAPTER ARE MAIN- TAINED AND PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE ARE PRESERVED, TO VARY OR MODIFY ANY PROVISION OR REQUIREMENT OF THIS CHAPTER. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11752-01-1