Lawmakers Want to Change Licensing Guidelines for Newsstands: NY1

NY1: Local leaders are fighting to make sure that they have a say in what's allowed to operate in their neighborhood.

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"State Senator Jose Peralta introduced legislation this week, with support from City Council Member Daniel Dromm that would require newsstand operators get additional approval before they can set up shop.

Right now, if an applicant seeking to open a newsstand meets all necessary requirements, the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs is legally required to issue the license.

This is “regardless of what the Community Board's recommendation is," according to a DCA Spokesperson.

Peralta and Dromm say that’s exactly what happened with the newsstand installed at 37th Avenue and 76th Street in Jackson Heights.

The legislators say the local community board voted twice against installing the newsstand, arguing that the area was already crowded.

"Here we are saying 'No, we don't want a newsstand. We don't want this here.' And the agency's response is 'Thank you very much for your recommendation. Let's move on.' And that's unacceptable. That's why we want to add this step to the process," said State Senator Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens.

Under Senator Peralta’s proposal, the newsstand application process will mirror the process that sidewalk cafés comply with. If the bill is enacted, the New York City Council will have the power to approve or deny the petition following community board input for the community district where the installation of the newsstand is proposed.

"This is an issue that has to do with our life here in Jackson Heights. There simply is not a need for this," said Len Maniace, the president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.

The DCA spokesperson added that a proposal to install a new newsstand must get approval from the Department of Transportation and Public Design Commission before moving forward.

"I have been working to prevent a newsstand installation at this location since 2011 when former Mayor Bloomberg first awarded a $1 billion contract allowing for their placement anywhere the operators want," said Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm. "I believe that this site is totally inappropriate due to an existing problem with sidewalk congestion on 37th Avenue. 

"From the time an application was first submitted for this site, I have worked with Community Board 3 and others to fight against it. Our communities need to be able to have more of a voice. Unfortunately, our laws don't currently give our communities that opportunity when it comes to deciding where newsstands can be installed, Dromm continued.

"Therefore, I am introducing legislation that would require City Council approval for newsstands, just the way it is required for sidewalk cafes. I will continue to push back against any effort to install additional newsstands in my district. We already have too many."

This is the segment.