ASAP is fighting to preserve and indeed tighten the manufacturing zoning restrictions to keep those areas viable for industry and working artists, and in addition we are fighting hard for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a bill in the City Council that would offer lease protections to ALL commercial renters. This bill would protect mom & pop stores in all of our neighborhoods, as well as artists and makers in industrial zones. The bill is not commercial rent control, but would guarantee the basic right to renew, and would mandate mediation and then binding arbitration if the rent increase was felt to be too high.
This is in fact a very mild bill, and is a common-sense first step to easing the commercial rent crisis in our city. In 2009, Council member Lander supported this bill. But now he opposes it, saying that it is "unconstitutional." How on earth is it "unconstitutional" to simply offer lease protections to struggling small businesses and artists in our city? And why the sudden turnaround on Landers part? The bill is essentially unchanged from 2009, when he, along with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill deBlasio (who have also made a cowardly about-face), supported it. Naturally, NYC real estate lobbyists loathe this bill: they are making a killing from soaring commercial rents.
This is a concrete example of how our manufacturing zones are being gentrified. Though Council member Lander came to our rally and press conference against the mass eviction of the artist building on 9th street last fall, he has disappointed us by refusing to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). He promised to meet with us to discuss this further, but after much pressure, he wouldn't meet with us in person, and we spoke to two of his aides instead.
Very, very disappointing. We will not stop pushing for this bill.
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