Bronx BID formation delayed to ensure compliance with public notice requirements. On January 3, 2012, the City Council’s Finance Committee held a public hearing triggering another 30-day objection period for the Department of Small Business Services’ plan to create the Westchester Square Business Improvement District in the Bronx. The proposed BID would be within Bronx Community Boards 10 and 11. The district, with a proposed first-year budget of $320,000, would include 90 tax lots and 145 businesses.
In October 2011, the Committee held a public hearing to discuss the BID and trigger a required 30- day objection period. At the hearing, however, the Committee became aware that the Westchester Square BID Steering Committee had not complied with the BID’s public notice requirements. The administrative code requires that notice of the BID’s public hearing be mailed to all property owners and commercial and residential tenants within the proposed boundaries no less than ten days before the hearing. According to SBS, the Steering Committee mailed notices to all property owners, but hand-delivered notices to tenants. Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. raised concerns about the delivery of notice, but indicated that the committee would not make a determination until the objection period had expired on November 15, 2011. 8 CityLand 151 (Nov. 15, 2011).
At a public hearing on November 29, SBS’s representatives reiterated that while the Steering Committee had mailed notices to 77 property owners, in order to meet the deadline, it hand-delivered notices to 197 commercial and residential tenants. To avoid potential legal challenges to the BID, Chair Recchia suggested that the Finance Committee postpone the vote until notice requirements had been met. The Committee agreed and determined that the notice was insufficient because the notices had not been mailed to the tenants.
In December 2011, the Committee met and scheduled January 3, 2012 as the date for a new public hearing on the BID. At the January hearing, SBS’s Elizabeth De Leon testified that the BID Steering Committee mailed notices to property owners and tenants within the required timeframe. Local Council Member James Vacca submitted a letter in support of the BID, and no one opposed. The hearing triggered a new 30-day objection period.
Council: Westchester Square BID (Jan. 3, 2012).