By Jonathan Sperling
A co-op and condominium membership organization is anticipating millions of dollars in penalties for 10 Queens co-ops after the City Council’s passage of the Climate Mobilization Act, but an Astoria councilmember says that only “those that make no effort whatsoever to retrofit their buildings” will face steep fines.
Introduction 1253-C — part of the Climate Mobilization Act — requires large and medium-sized buildings, which account for nearly a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the city, to reduce such emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and by 80 percent by the year 2050.
The Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums said the legislation means that “less than half of the city’s built environment — representing primarily market-rate residential and commercial properties — will shoulder the entire burden of meeting the city’s goal.”
“This legislation unfairly places a burden on the backs of these homeowners, ignoring the fact that addressing climate change should be an obligation shared by all New Yorkers,” said CNYC Executive Director Mary Ann Rothman in a statement. “The fines will impose a real hardship on building residents and could harm both their financial stability and their quality of life.”
CNYC further argues that fewer than 3,000 Queens households will face fines totaling over $4 million as a result of the legislation, and more than 2,600 homeowners will face major increases in maintenance fees at the ten Queens buildings. The organization said buildings in Flushing, Glen Oaks and Astoria will be hit with the biggest fines.
The act was sponsored by Councilmember Costa Constantinides and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month. It goes into effect later this month.
In response to CNYC’s report, Constantinides told the Eagle on Monday that “the only buildings that will face steep fines are those that make no effort whatsoever to retrofit their buildings. Buildings that operate in good faith will be able to get low-to-no cost loans, adjustments, or other assistance if they have trouble meeting these requirements.”
"Let's be clear: I don't want your money, I want your carbon," Constantinides added.
The Astoria councilmember further elaborated on the need for urgency in regard to the bill.
“Neighborhoods like the Rockaways are going to vanish by the mid-century. When I talk about Queens bearing the brunt of climate change I’m talking from a place of fact,” Constantinides said. “Even the conservative models talk about large seal level rise due to climate change and storm surge. The queens landscape is not going to be the same for my son as it was for me, and that’s why this legislation is so important.”