NYC City Council Public Hearing January 28th on Green Roof Legislative Package

January 9, 2019

 

NYC Green Infrastructure advocates should be sure to attend the City Council Committee for Environmental Protection's Public Hearing on January 29th, 10 A.M.  250 Broadway - Committee Rm, 16th Fl. 

 

A series of proposed bills will be reviewed at the hearing and public testimony in response to the bills will be heard and recorded on the public record.  Here is a link to the current set of bills being introduced for public input.

 

A resolution is also being introduced to renew and revise the NYC Green Roof Tax Abatement to make the rebate more substantial. Below is our original blog post on this topic late last year. 

 

Over the summer, SWIM Coalition was invited to stand alongside green roof advocates and City Council Member Rafael Espinal as he introduced a proposed bill for Green Roofs on certain NYC buildings.

Representatives from from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Eagle Street Farms, and NYC Community Garden Coalition spoke about the importance of green roofs as a vital part of New York City's efforts to address the many impacts of climate change and thanked Council Member Espinal and his colleagues Donovan Richards, Stephen Levin and Mark Levine for introducing this important legislation. Since the bill was introduced, City Council Member Alika Ampry-Samuel has signed onto the bill. 

 

The Green Roof bill, part of a legislative package related to requiring green roof systems, small wind turbines and/or solar power on certain types of buildings, was introduced on the green roof at Vice Media headquarters. 

The Vice Media green roof, situated atop a 100 - year old renovated sugar factory, features a 20,000 square foot rooftop meadow, solar panels, panels, and 2,000 square feet of vegetable and herb gardens and ample seating  for employees and guests, is a great example of exactly the kind of retrofit that building owners in NYC can replicate in the years ahead!

 

The proposed legislation would require a green roof system, small wind turbines or solar panels, or a combination of all three, on 100% of available space on specific buildings types: B, I-4, M, or S-2 as defined in section BC 302 of NYC building code. 

 

The discussion about the importance of green roofs in NYC has continued since the bill was introduced in July and a public hearing on the package is slated for November or December 2018: 

 

 

In October, Council Member Espinal and representatives for Council Members Donovan Richards and Stephen Levin continued the green roof conversation with a diverse group of environmental justice advocates, city agencies,  green infrastructure and clean waterway advocates, building owners and real estate developers at a gathering organized by New York City Audubon, Alive Structures and Newtown Creek Alliance. The gathering was hosted by Broadway Stages and took place at the site of the Kingsland Wildflower green roof in Brooklyn. We heard from a diverse group of stakeholders and varying viewpoints on the importance of this bill and some of the challenges the City may face in getting it passed. 

 

New York City has over one million buildings within the five boroughs. Needless to say, there is great potential for green roofs here! Several cities have passed green roof legislation: Denver, San Francisco, Toronto , and Washington DC.

 

As we noted in our press quote back in July, SWIM enthusiastically supports the installation of more green roofs across the City. Green roofs help reduce energy demand in buildings reduce Urban Heat Island effect, purify the air, create vital habitat for birds and other pollinators, and can help capture and manage the stormwater runoff that currently overloads our sewer system causing sewage overflows in our waterways.  

 

Stay tuned for updates here as we learn more about the next steps for this bill. 

 

 

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SWIM Coalition is sponsored by the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District and Riverkeeper, Inc. Your donations to SWIM's work are tax deductible under the IRS code170(c)3. 


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