The army fighting on behalf of co-op and condo boards just got a new recruit. Homeowners for a Stronger New York, a group of co-op and condo advocates, has come together to fight for tax breaks and other measures that will help middle-class co-ops and condos pay for retrofits that will enable them to meet caps on their buildings' carbon emissions under the city's Local Law 97.
The group is launching a six-figure digital and TV ad and mailing campaign urging elected officials that New York can have “affordability and sustainability” — targeting 18 Assembly districts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx with a concentration of co-ops and condos likely to face the steepest fines, The New York Post reports.
The ad campaign specifically backs state legislation introduced by state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Queens) and Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) to require the city to provide property tax breaks to help alleviate the costs. The bill, if approved, would require the city to provide a tax break based on the reduction of greenhouse emissions for 10 years, or an exemption from any increased assessment for the green capital upgrades for 20 years.
"We're not saying no to Local Law 97, we're saying let's figure out ways to make this law work," says one of the group's members, Geoffrey Mazel, a partner at the law firm Hankin & Mazel and also counsel for another unit in the army, the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council (PCCC).
The campaign has attracted an influential ally in Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who backs Local Law 97 but agrees that middle- and working-class co-op and condo owners need tax relief in order to comply with the law. “Co-ops and condos have a legitimate gripe," Richards says. "It’s very important that we don’t exacerbate the affordable housing crisis. Something needs to be done to relieve the pressure on these middle-class homeowners. The costs of any fines will be passed on to the shareholders. We don’t want to see mortgage foreclosures.”
Richards says he has had preliminary discussions with Mayor Eric Adams’s administration about providing tax relief to help co-ops and condos adhere to the law. For his part, Adams has come out with proposed zoning changes that would peel back of onerous restrictions that make it harder for property owners to embrace such green technologies as solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations.
On another front of the battle, City Councilmember Vickie Paladino (R-Queens) has drafted a bill to push enforcement of Local Law 97 back by seven years. Under Local Law 97, larger co-ops and condos must meet carbon emissions caps beginning next year or face fines. The caps become more stringent over time.
Paladino, in conjunction with the PCCC, is also hosting a Local Law 97 Town Hall meeting at Bay Terrace Garden Jewish Center in Bayside, Queens on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. Registration is required by email at email@example.com or by calling 718-619-8611.
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