Assemblyman Colton Demands That Mayor de Blasio Stop the Harassment of Small Businesses Now

January 29, 2019

Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) has written to Mayor de Blasio, reminding the Mayor of the blitz of fines that has been issued by the Department of Buildings to the small business owners throughout the city for technical violations for the antiquated sign regulations. The Assemblyman stated that the merchants are still getting hit with fines for having signage over their stores, which do not involve any safety concerns, ranging from $2,500 up to $6,000.

“What really ticks me off is that the Department of Buildings was not enforcing these antiquated awning and sign regulations for over thirty years. Then a ticket invasion started on the small business merchants only in the last few months after anonymous complaints swamped the 311complaint line, and the Department of Buildings inspectors began issuing tickets. The city administration’s bureaucracy is allowing some entity to harass small business owners, driving them out of business. I am calling on you, Mayor de Blasio, to intervene and issue an order to the Department of Buildings to stop the issuing of non-safety signage violations against small business merchants. I am asking you to intervene immediately so that small business owners can enjoy the holidays without having this threat hanging over them.  The merchants that received fines should have them refunded. I demand that bureaucratic regulations such as this, which place unnecessary restrictions other than for safety reasons, should be repealed by the city council and a moratorium should be held in effect while the city council proceeds with such changes,” Colton stated.

 “Council Member Espinal introduced a bill which was supposed to be voted on December 20, 2018 and I was pleased that the council was acting promptly to stop future fines, but a vote was put off until January 9, 2019. This decision is unacceptable. The city administration’s policy must be to support and encourage small businesses which provide so many jobs to New York City neighborhood people. It should not be allowing some private entity to harass small businesses by making anonymous calls resulting in the Department of Buildings imposing unjust fines,” Colton stated.