From the Wonkster:
City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito has introduced a bill that would require the city take a census to count vacant property every year. The measure also calls for the city to publish information, online and in print, identifying owners of vacant property as well as when the property became vacant.
However, the legislation, Intro 1089, stops short of provisions that housing and homeless advocates have been agitating for, namely creating affordable housing apartments in so-called warehoused properties that would be guaranteed to homeless and low-income New Yorkers.
“I see the vacant building census legislation as an important first step to address the myriad problems that result from vacant properties,” Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem, Manhattan Valley and parts of Mott Haven in the Bronx, said. “The collection and publication of this data by the city will lay the groundwork for further action on this issue.”
Okay...so what's the real reason behind this bill? To help developers? For eminent domain? For a "vacant lot tax"?
How do you define a "vacant" property, anyway? Will a double lot used as a yard be considered vacant? How about lots filled with trees? Shouldn't we encourage open space, especially in areas of flooding, since we have so little of it left? How can people - with a straight face - expect the city to mandate the use of private property for affordable housing?