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Curb enthusiasm: Pol hopes bill will fix illegal driveways

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Local pols are pushing for a bill they say will reclaim on-street parking spaces from greedy property owners who illegally cut curbs in front of their homes to create unauthorized driveways.

The legislation, introduced last month by Councilman Kalman Yeger (D–Bensonhurst) and co-sponsored by Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge), would require property owners to correct curb cuts created without a permit within 30 days. If the curb isn’t fixed, the Department of Transportation must do the work within six months, at the property owner’s expense, similar to a law that requires property owners to maintain sidewalk defects.

“What we’re saying is that if you do not fix the curb, the city will fix it and bill you,” Yeger said. “It requires the government to help the people out a bit.”

The bill is a response to property owners who illegally cut curbs to install driveways in front of their homes, removing on-street parking for fellow drivers. Illegal curb cutting has become rampant throughout Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Bay Ridge recently, leading fed-up neighbors to complain that current laws aren’t doing enough to address the problem.

The Department of Buildings can issue violations to property owners who cut curbs without a permit, but there isn’t a law on the books that requires owners to restore the curbs. Yeger’s bill would change that, giving the city the power it needs to fight back where it currently has little, according to Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11.

“There will be more teeth in the law,” she said. “There’s [currently] no way to enforce the restoration of the curbs.”

And the proposed law wouldn’t only force property owners to restore illegally cut curbs, but it would also notify community boards of any legitimate curb-cut applications within their district. The boards would then be allowed to submit comments and recommendations to the Department of Transportation regarding each application.

Lawmakers have tried to push for stricter curb cut regulations in the past without success. But that hasn’t stopped Yeger from introducing his legislation and even co-sponsoring another recently proposed bill introduced by Councilman Robert Holden (D–Queens), which would require police officers to confirm the legality of a curb cut before issuing violations for vehicles parked there.

Yeger said he’s confident these bills will find support because they combat an issue that affects all New Yorkers.

“There’s this epidemic of illegal driveways,” he said. “Most who drive cars are facing the same conundrum. I think the vast majority will say this is a good idea.”

Posted 12:00 am, June 21, 2018
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Reader feedback

Bikerchick from Sheepshead Bay says:
THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Finally, someone taking the initiatives to give parking back to the people! While you are at it, take a look at East 7th between T & U and those surrounding streets. Same exact issue happening over there.
June 21, 8:15 am
nella from bensonhurst says:
thank you. check out 66/67 street and 20th ave and 67 and bay parkway. the amounts of illegal driveways are disgusting!!!
June 21, 3:06 pm
Nancy from Sunset Park says:
Neighbors can find out whether curb cut permits were issued for a particular property by using the "Search by Property" option in the Buildings Information System..
https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/faq/410/how-do-i-know-if-a-curb-cut-is-legal
June 21, 4:35 pm
Beth Malne from Gravesend says:
My neighborhood os like a used car lot. And a al that cement is causing flooding when it rains. And they are killing the trees! THIS MUST STOP
June 21, 6:05 pm
Moishe from Midwood says:
Councilman Kalman Yeger is a man of common sense for our community . I am out of your district Kalman, but we support you all the way! Councilman Deutsch should follow in your footsteps.
June 22, 6:27 am
Lori from Bath Beach says:
It's not only the illegal cut curb, they are just jumping the uncut curbs and going on to the properties. Another problem is that many are saving spots for one another, especially those with TLC plates. I've seen cars holding spots and then drivers with TLC cars and vans pull in after the car leaves on my block as well as those without the TLC plates. There he a car that is never driven on my block and only moves once a week for alternate parking. There are many people with garages that are parking in the streets as well.
June 22, 9:50 am

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