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Assistant General Counsel, New York City Department of Buildings
General Counsel’s Office
280 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Fax: (212) 566-3843
Re: PROPOSED RULE 105-03
Dear Ms. Gilkin:
While I welcome the Department of Buildings formalizing a challenge process for building permits and making approved building plans available to the public on-line, I have serious concerns about other fundamental aspects of the proposed rule change, and believe that if it moves ahead further changes must be made to the system.
First, there is a fundamental question as to whether or not the Department of Buildings has the right to relieve itself of the obligation to consider challenges of legitimate building permit approvals after 30 days; some would argue that this can only be done through an act of legislation, while others would argue that this cannot legally be done at all. The Department must resolve this fundamental question before this new system can be implemented.
If input from the public is to be truly considered, then this new rule should not be implemented on Monday, the business day directly following the public hearing.
Regarding the provisions of the proposed rule, if it is found to be legal and the Department does move ahead, changes should be made to the process, including:
- The time period allowed for public challenges should be extended well beyond the proposed 30 days
- Building plan schematics should be posted on-line starting when application is filed, not when it is approved as is proposed
- Zoning calculations should be included in the schematics posted on-line
- DOB should provide the public with a mechanism for signing up to receive notices of when permits are being considered for certain locations, so the burden is not on the public to monitor and know when they have to consider filing a challenge
- Work should not be allowed to proceed during challenge period, as the proposed system currently does
- DOB should require the posting of plans and diagrams and permit applications on the site, so that the public can see what is being planned/proposed; this would help ensure that public is in fact aware of such plans and has the opportunity to review them during the challenge period
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