Bill Text: NY A06112 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Establishes a system of community improvement grants to be administered by and through neighborhood citizens' participation committees; makes definitions; directs commissioner of the New York state division for housing and community renewal to create the community improvement grant program; provides that municipalities receiving such grants establish citizens' participation committees.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Republican 7-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-28 - referred to housing [A06112 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06112-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 28, 2019
        Introduced by M. of A. FITZPATRICK, RA, TAGUE, COLTON, SALKA, MIKULIN --
          Multi-Sponsored  by -- M. of A. MANKTELOW -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Housing
        AN ACT to amend the private housing finance law, in relation to creating
          a demonstration program establishing a system of community improvement
          grants to  be  administered  by  and  through  neighborhood  citizens'
          participation committees
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The private housing finance law is amended by adding a  new
     2  article 6-B to read as follows:
     3                                 ARTICLE 6-B
     5  Section 270. Legislative intent.
     6          271. Definitions.
     7          272. Community improvement grants.
     8          273. General and administrative provisions.
     9    §  270. Legislative intent.  The legislature hereby finds and declares
    10  that in certain regions of the state a supply of housing stock in excess
    11  of that needed by the population of those  regions  has  accumulated  in
    12  recent years, much of which is old, deteriorated, substandard, unmarket-
    13  able, and often abandoned.
    14    The  legislature  further  finds  that  this  excess housing has had a
    15  blighting effect upon the communities in which it  is  located,  reduces
    16  the  value  of other residential properties in the surrounding neighbor-
    17  hoods, and may cause persons, families, and businesses to abandon  those
    18  municipalities  containing an overabundance of excess and blighted hous-
    19  ing stock.
    20    The legislature further finds that it is in  the  public  interest  to
    21  encourage persons, families, and businesses to locate or remain in those
    22  municipalities,  in order to both utilize existing building stock and to
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

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     1  preserve the open spaces of the state, and that improving the quality of
     2  life within those municipalities is a most effective  method  of  accom-
     3  plishing  this goal. In addition, declining home values in these munici-
     4  palities  discourages  home ownership by adversely affecting the ability
     5  of families of moderate income to build and/or maintain equity in  their
     6  homes.
     7    The  legislature  further  finds that the residents of a community are
     8  often in the best position to know and understand  the  needs  of  their
     9  community, and have the greatest stake in the future of their community.
    10    The  legislature  further finds that no state program presently exists
    11  with the primary purpose of supporting and  funding  the  identification
    12  and  demolition  of  surplus  housing stock or for disposing of the real
    13  estate upon which that housing stock is located.
    14    The legislature hereby determines  that  such  a  program  is  in  the
    15  public's interest.
    16    §  271.  Definitions. As used in this article, the following words and
    17  phrases shall have the following meanings:
    18    1. "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of the state division of
    19  housing and community renewal.
    20    2. "Division" shall mean the state division of housing  and  community
    21  renewal.
    22    3.  "Municipality"  shall  mean  any city, town, or village within the
    23  state with a population of less than one million persons.
    24    4. "Grant" shall mean a community improvement grant as defined in this
    25  article.
    26    5. "Committee" shall  mean  a  citizens'  participation  committee  as
    27  defined in this article.
    28    §  272.  Community  improvement  grants. 1. There is created under the
    29  direction of the commissioner the community improvement  grant  program.
    30  Within  the  limit of funds available in the community improvement grant
    31  program, the commissioner is authorized to offer state financial assist-
    32  ance to municipalities with a population of under one million persons in
    33  the form of community improvement grants.
    34    2. Prior to the award of a grant, the commissioner shall have  made  a
    35  finding  that the municipality requesting a grant contains neighborhoods
    36  that contain a significant number of vacant  residential  housing  units
    37  that are in excess of the needs of the current population, and that many
    38  of  these  residential  housing  units are deteriorated, substandard, or
    39  obsolete. The municipality shall demonstrate to the division as part  of
    40  the grant application process that it is eligible to receive grant funds
    41  under  the  provisions  of  this  section and according to the rules and
    42  regulations promulgated by the division.
    43    3. Municipalities receiving community improvement grants  shall  cause
    44  to  be  established  citizens' participation committees, which are to be
    45  representative of the neighborhoods in which these grant funds are to be
    46  expended. The geographic boundaries of the neighborhood  represented  by
    47  each  committee  shall be determined by the municipality. The committees
    48  shall direct all aspects of the expenditure of grants,  subject  to  the
    49  provisions  of  this article. No member of a committee shall receive any
    50  compensation for this service, nor shall such member  personally  profit
    51  financially  from the proceeds of any grant monies received.  Membership
    52  in a committee shall consist of  representatives  of  local  charitable,
    53  not-for-profit,  social  service,  faith-based,  business  and community
    54  organizations with an interest in housing or development  issues  within
    55  the affected neighborhood desiring to participate, as well as any inter-
    56  ested local citizens desiring to be involved. Committees are to be self-

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     1  governing,  and  shall establish rules and regulations concerning voting
     2  and other procedures, provided  that  such  rules  and  regulations  are
     3  constructed  in such a manner as to ensure the broadest and most equita-
     4  ble participation practicable by all concerned, and that such committees
     5  are  democratically organized.   All proceedings of a committee shall be
     6  subject to all provisions of article seven of the public  officers  law.
     7  The  municipality  shall be responsible for the general oversight of its
     8  committees, is to ensure that the committees conduct their  business  in
     9  general  conformity  with  the  provisions of this article, and that the
    10  organization of each committee is democratic and inclusive of all eligi-
    11  ble organizations and individuals.  The  municipality  shall  distribute
    12  grant  monies  received to the committees, which shall then expend those
    13  funds according to the comprehensive plan developed by  such  committee.
    14  The  municipality  shall also be responsible for the conduct of periodic
    15  financial audits to ensure that all  grant  monies  distributed  to  the
    16  committees  are  properly  accounted for and utilized in conformity with
    17  this article.  The municipality shall provide  to  each  committee  such
    18  other  technical, legal, and administrative assistance as is required to
    19  fulfill the purposes of this article.
    20    4. Each committee shall  develop  a  comprehensive  neighborhood  plan
    21  before  commencing  the expenditure of funds upon other authorized items
    22  as defined in subdivision five of this section.  The plan shall identify
    23  short and long-term goals and objectives that are both  consistent  with
    24  the  intent  of  this article and that shall contribute significantly to
    25  improving the quality of life for the citizens living in  the  neighbor-
    26  hood.  This plan shall be subject to review and general oversight by the
    27  municipality.
    28    5. Grant monies received by the committees may be  expended  upon  the
    29  following items, subject to the limits indicated:
    30    (a) Acquisition of property - not limited.
    31    (b) Demolition of structures - not limited.
    32    (c)  Selective  rehabilitation  - up to twenty-five percent. Selective
    33  rehabilitation may be used to convert suitable multi-family  homes  into
    34  single  family  homes,  if such conversion is consistent with the intent
    35  and purposes of this article.
    36    (d) Neighborhood beautification - up to twenty percent.
    37    (e) Administration - up to ten percent, to be used for  expenses  such
    38  as legal costs, title searches, office supplies, and other miscellaneous
    39  support  as  may  be  appropriate to assist the efforts of the citizens'
    40  participation committees.
    41    (f) Property improvement mini-grants - up to twenty percent,  with  no
    42  individual  mini-grant to exceed one thousand dollars. These mini-grants
    43  are to be offered to individual property  owners  in  order  to  improve
    44  vacant and vacated land as defined in subdivision eight of this section.
    45    (g)  Planning  and market study - up to ten percent, to be utilized by
    46  citizens' participation committees in preparing the comprehensive neigh-
    47  borhood plan.
    48    6. Grant funds may be used by the municipality to acquire  tax  delin-
    49  quent,  vacant,  and  abandoned  properties  or  properties owned by the
    50  federal department of Housing and Urban Development, but are not author-
    51  ized to acquire properties through eminent domain. Upon municipal acqui-
    52  sition of a property, the committee shall assess its condition to deter-
    53  mine whether salvaging property is both feasible and consistent with the
    54  plans and objectives of the committee. The committee  is  authorized  to
    55  direct  the  demolition  of structures when the committee deems this the

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     1  most appropriate course of action in furthering the improvement  of  the
     2  neighborhood.
     3    7. Residential properties acquired through grant funds that are deemed
     4  salvageable  may only be conveyed to individuals if they contain no more
     5  than four dwelling units, and those individuals agree to maintain  their
     6  primary residence at that property for not less than two years.
     7    8.  The  committees  are  authorized  to request that the municipality
     8  transfer vacant land acquired through grant funds to eligible individual
     9  homeowners or not-for-profit agencies for the  sum  of  one  dollar.  In
    10  disposing  of  vacant  land,  preference  shall be given to transferring
    11  portions of that land to the owners of adjoining residential properties,
    12  provided that those owners are also occupants of the adjoining  residen-
    13  tial  properties. The committee is authorized to award mini-grants of up
    14  to one thousand dollars to these homeowners for the purpose of improving
    15  this vacant property.  In the event that disposition of vacant  land  to
    16  adjoining  individual  homeowners is impossible or impractical according
    17  to the determination of the committee, this land may be disposed  of  in
    18  such  other  manner  as  will  inure  to the benefit of the community in
    19  general and its inhabitants, by providing open public space, parkland or
    20  parking spaces as is deemed best by the committee.
    21    9. The municipality shall review any request by a  committee  for  the
    22  disposition  of a property under the provisions of this article, and may
    23  deny this request if such disposition  is  deemed  improper  or  clearly
    24  contrary to the intent of this article.
    25    §  273.  General  and  administrative  provisions. 1. The commissioner
    26  shall issue and promulgate rules and regulations for the  administration
    27  of  this  article.  The  rules and regulations shall include, but not be
    28  limited to: eligibility for grants under this article; funding  criteria
    29  and  the  funding  determination  process; supervision and evaluation of
    30  grantees; reporting and record keeping requirements; and  other  matters
    31  not inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of this article as the
    32  commissioner shall deem necessary or appropriate.
    33    2. The commissioner shall provide for the periodic financial review of
    34  the grantee's conformity to the purposes and provisions of this article.
    35    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.