Mayor, Council Unveil New Building Carrots for Suspended Developments

It’s not every day you can tackle rats and the recession with one piece of legislation, but New York is doing its best.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri announced a new program intended to yield both economic and safety benefits: In return for agreeing to follow stricter safety regulations, developers would be able to renew permits at stalled building sites for as long as four years.

Previously, permits expired when construction stopped for a year; and the permits could become ineligible for reinstatement if the construction remained stalled for more than two years.

By allowing developers to renew permits for two two-year cycles, the city hopes to speed development and encourage economic growth.

“One of the many negative impacts of the national recession has been a sharp slowdown in construction activity,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “Stalled construction sites pose significant safety challenges, and the longer they remain dormant, the more harmful the impact on the city’s economy.”

The program would require that developers formulate a safety monitoring plan that includes measures for preventing unauthorized access; schedules for inspecting the site; and details for implementing fire and building safety protocol. Such provisions aim to reduce the incidence of “illegal trespassing, rats, improper postering and various other quality of life concerns,” said Council Member Gale Brewer, who sponsored the legislation.