The city is looking to “cure” gripes from local businesses about fines issued for minor violations.
Under Local Law 35 which the City Council passed and Mayor Bloomberg signed into law in April, they will be given the time to correct some of the issues – often as minor as a missing sticker in their window or a licensing snafu – before a fine is issued.
The law allows for the creation of so-called “cure periods” for violations that are not threats to public health or safety.
The Mayor’s Office of Operations held a cure period discussion with local east Bronx business owners and elected officials to gather input about which violations cure periods would be appropriate for.
The Thursday, July 18th meeting at the Chippewa Democratic Club in Westchester Square, was one of several planned for business owners and community members around around the city.
“Cure periods could be appropriate for violations that are not threats to public health or safety, for entities that are licensed and legally operating in New York City, where we might be able to offer a chance to fix a violation before a financial penalty is given,” stated an information sheet. “Once our recommendations are enacted, we believe that this exercise will have potential will have to have a positive impact on businesses, individuals, and property owners in the future.”
“This is a great first start on the part of the Mayor’s office,” said meeting attendee, CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, “and hopefully will lead to continued dialogue with the residents and merchants of Community Board 10.
Many local businesspersons feel that inspectors from city agencies should have a bit of discretion over issuing fines, said Kearns.
Beauty Salon owner Rochelle Mandina of Kids Kut on Middletown Road said a list of licenses and requirements to operate specific kinds of businesses should be given to owners so that they know exactly what to expect when agencies conduct inspections.
“Most of us want to follow the rules. But they come in every year and I don’t know what they are going to ask for,” she said. “It makes me wonder if they want you to get a violation.”
Some restaurant inspections result in violations for seemingly harmless reasons, said Pat Caruso, CB 10 community liaison.
The cure period will involve the Department of Buildings, Department of Transportation, Department of Consumer Affairs, Fire Department, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation for New York, and Department of Health.
Caruso is collecting feedback during the review period from local merchants and residents about specific fines and the frequency of visits by city agencies, which he will pass onto the Mayor’s office.
The deadline for submitting comments is Wednesday, July 31, and a report should be issued by August.
Caruso can be reached via e-mail at PCaruso@cb.nyc.gov.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393