Penalties for Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) Pass New York City Council
New York, NY – Over 538 privately owned public spaces (POPS) attached to 329 buildings that received additional area to build will be required to provide the amenities promised or face steep fines for bad landlords, under legislation that passed the Council today. The legislation is part of package authored by Land Use Chair David Greenfield and Council Member Ben Kallos.
In August 2016, Trump Tower Commercial, LLC, was fined $10,000 in violation of their POPS agreement for having an unapproved sales counter in a space designated for the public. The New York Times has highlighted the shortcomings and non-compliance of POPS in 1977, 1987, and 1998 followed by the publication of “Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience,” authored by Jerold Kayden and the Municipal Art Society in 2000. Comptroller Scott Stringer audited 333 POPS finding 275 had not been inspected by Department of Buildings in four years with more than half failing to provide all required amenities in April of 2017.
The legislation follows on the heels of an Oversight Hearing on POPS and Int. 1219 authored by Land Use Chair David Greenfield in June of 2016 by the Land Use Committee, passed in June, and signed into Local Law 116 of 2017. This follow up legislation authored by Council Member Ben Kallos and Land Use Chair David Greenfield requires additional signage in all POPS detailing amenities, hours of operation, along with a website for the public to find more information and where complaints can be registered at that website or by calling 311. Additional legislation targets bad landlords who failed to live up to their side of the bargain would face fines of $4,000 for the first offense, $10,000 for each additional offense, and a penalty of $250 for each month they fail to deliver.
“New Yorkers are getting cheated out of public resources – and the City is letting it happen. We must proactively enforce agreements so we aren’t leaving money on the table and failing to protect the public’s interest. We’ve seen willful neglect that defies common-sense. That’s why this legislation is so important,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.
“Property owners received significant benefits in exchange for agreeing to provide space for use to the general public. I am thrilled that with the passage of this legislation building owners will once and for all be held responsible if they fail to honor their commitments to keep these spaces open. I thank Council Member Kallos for his collaboration and partnership on this significant piece of legislation and my previous legislation that will keep over 3.2 million square feet of public space truly accessible to all New Yorkers," said Land Use Chair David Greenfield.
“Landlords who got to build taller buildings with the promise of making space available as a public amenity only to break their word once they got what they wanted will finally be forced to pay and make good on their word,” said Council Member Ben Kallos whose district has many of the city’s POPS.
“The public has long deserved the stronger monitoring and enforcement mechanism that this legislation will help deliver,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York. “We applaud the City Council—especially Council Members Kallos and Greenfield—for finally requiring building owners to ensure that POPS are open, accessible, and well-maintained for all to enjoy. Scattered across some of the city’s darkest and most congested neighborhoods, this network of POPS provides 80 acres of open space for New Yorkers to step out of the hustle and bustle, and appreciate the city around them.”