Local Law 49 of 2019 (LL 49/2019), signed into law on 03/04/2019 and effective on 07/02/2019, establishes a demonstration program to evaluate the creation and alteration of basement and cellar apartments in the “East New York Program Area” as outlined in the local law. Certain 1- and 2-family buildings located in the program area may be permitted to convert an existing basement or cellar level into a habitable dwelling unit or to alter an existing apartment that is located wholly on a floor partially below grade. These guidelines apply the unique provisions of this local law to the alterations of existing 1- and 2-family homes as part of creating or altering basement or cellar apartments.
LL 49/2019 applies to existing 1- and 2-family buildings that are located in Brooklyn Community Board 5 and that are outside any special enhanced commercial district as described in section 132-11 of the Zoning Resolution and in any area generally north of the line drawn under LL 49/2019. Where LL 49/2019 allows for the creation of a basement or cellar apartment, the creation of a basement or cellar apartment in a one family residential building shall result in a two family home. An alteration of an existing 2 family residential building and with an existing below-grade apartment, must include the creation of at least 1 additional sleeping room, and shall remain a two family home.
Basement or cellar apartments created or altered under this local law demonstration program must comply with the applicable zoning provisions for the property’s zoning district. The codes, rules and regulations of other agencies, such as the Fire Department (FD), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), shall also apply. HPD is also administering a program that will provide financial assistance to homeowners meeting certain criteria for participation in the demonstration program as well as technical assistance. Additional information
Basement or cellar apartments created or altered under this local law demonstration program must comply with applicable construction code requirements, except as modified by the provisions in this local law pertaining to maximum below grade height percentage, minimum floor to ceiling height, egress, emergency escape and rescue windows, natural light and air, and fire protection.
Any alteration applications, which utilize any provisions of this local law of this demonstration program, shall result in an amended Certificate of Occupancy or a partial Certificate of Occupancy that is specific to the apartment created.
This program allows for the deferment of payment on civil penalties for pre-existing violations that would otherwise be required to be paid before the issuance of a permit. Such penalties would remain outstanding with the Department.
The Department shall also waive application, permit and inspection fees where the creation or alteration of the subject altered or created basement or cellar apartment is subsidized by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
All applications must be filed within 18 months of the effective date of this local law.
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