Council Passes Bill to Provide Small Businesses with More Financial Information

On September 14, 2023, the City Council passed Int. No. 969-A, which requires the Department of Small Business Services to provide information on local community development financial institutions on the city’s one-stop shop business services portal. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, community development financial institutions are financial lenders that help, “promote access to capital and local economic growth in…low-income communities… through monetary awards and the allocation of tax credits.”

City Council Changes Penalties for Certain Civil Violations to Help Small Businesses

The bill reduces or eliminates some fines. On June 17, 2021, the City Council voted to pass a bill that reduces fines and allows opportunities to remedy certain violations for 185 civil penalties. Int. No. 2233-A, sponsored by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, provides civil penalty relief from 185 different sanitation, health, transportation, consumer affairs, noise control and buildings violations.

Bill Introduced Will Seek Higher Penalties For Businesses That Fail To Clear Sidewalks

While many are still shoveling snow from the fourth nor’easter of the year, a new bill looks to increase penalties on chain business owners who fail to clear sidewalks. On March 7, 2018, Council Member Justin Brannan introduced a bill that will amend the Department of Sanitation section of the administrative code by increase the penalties for chain business owners who fail to properly remove snow, ice, and dirt from sidewalks following a snowfall. Council … <Read More>

City Council Votes to Approve Outdoor Dining Plan

After a year and a half since the bill was introduced, the Council finally votes to create a permanent outdoor dining program. On August 3, 2023, the City Council voted to approve Int 31-C, which establishes a permanent outdoor dining program. The program will allow sidewalk cafes to operate annually and roadway cafes to operate seasonally, with removable furniture and decor replacing solid dining shed structures. The program follows the temporary outdoor dining program that <Read More>

City Council Approves Zoning Text Amendment for Permanent Open Restaurants Program

City Council still needs to pass legislation establishing the program. On February 24, 2022, the City Council voted to approve the zoning text amendment that will remove geographical restrictions where sidewalk cafes can operate across the city. This vote completes the first step in the creation of a permanent open restaurant program.