The New York City Council overwhelmingly decided yesterday to phase out the use of rolldown security gates by retail storefronts, which critics say are graffiti magnets as well as obscure the inside of stores from police and firefighters.
The bill would require that after July 1, 2011, any roll-down gate that is being replaced must be replaced with a gate that allows at least 70 percent of the covered area to be visible. By July 1, 2026, all of the businesses covered by the legislation must have the new higher-visibility gates installed.
“We wanted to give a reasonable phase-in period to small businesses,” said Jeffrey Haberman, a lawyer who works on drafting legislation for the Council. He said the typical gate lasts from 10 to 15 years, which means most businesses that now have roll-down gates will have them replaced in any case by 2026.
The bill, supported by Mayor Bloomberg's office, passed 45-0 with one abstention. Businesses are likely to replace existing rolldown security gates with more expensive gates that feature a mesh or grillwork pattern. These gates commonly run about $300 to $400 more than rolldown gates, according to WNYC.com. Proponents of the bill say police and firefighters prefer gates that allow visibility for public safety reasons.
The bill's champion, Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., of Queens, New York, said in a statement that the "bill not only helps first responders when they are called to protect our businesses, but it carries the additional benefit of beautifying our city’s landscape.”
Violators of the bill would pay a $250 fine for the first offense and subsequent fines of $1000 for each additional offense, reports the Times.
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