City Council approves legislation to tighten regulations on privately owned public spaces

City Council approves motion to regulate privately owned public spaces with higher scrutiny. (Courtesy Bin im Garten)

The New York City Council has voted to tighten regulations on privately owned public spaces (POPS) after staff at Trump Tower flouted rules that required them to leave the space open to the public.

The City Council passed the vote on Wednesday after news that a bench in Trump Tower’s designated public space was removed and replaced with Trump merchandise that was on sale. Recently, protestors had been using the public space within Trump Tower to hold teach-ins on public housing and to campaign against cuts to arts funding.

“This is not just about President Trump,” said Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), the sponsor, speaking to the Daily News. “Unfortunately most developers have not been keeping that deal.”

In fact, an audit by the city controller has discovered that more than half of New York’s buildings (where POPS are required to afford buildings more square footage) violate public space rules. However, the lack of inspections, the audit found, means that these are seldom picked up on.

The legislation which was waved through on Wednesday stipulates that developers and building owners implement signage that tells visitors that the space is indeed public, noting its hours of use, and telling them how to file complaints regarding public space violations. In addition to this, the ruling meant that all POPS will be inspected every three years, as a minimum. The city will also be releasing a list of all the POPS in New York.

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