Lawn Litter Law takes effect 8/02

The Lawn Litter Law will take effect next month, now that the city’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has published the enforcement rules.
The five-page edict appeared on the DSNY web site on Tuesday afternoon, July 2 and in the City Register the next day, meaning the law will be enforced starting on Saturday, August 2.
Owners of one- two and three-family homes can now effectively ban sales circulars and other printed matter that only contains advertiser-related material.
In multiple-unit dwellings, such “litter” can be banned or limited in number and restricted to a particular place for residents to retrieve.
Fines for violations range from $250 to $1,000. Newspapers, periodicals and other materials which contain “a de minimis amount of news” are exempt.
Multiple documents that are “packaged together” using a bag, rubber band or other device will be analyzed separately to determine if they are “advertising” and violate the law.
The final version of the DSNY rules removed an onerous requirement that property owners had to have their complaints notarized. This came after a public hearing on Wednesday, June 4, at which objections were raised at the requirement.
A joint letter from State Senator Frank Padavan, and Assemblymember Mark Weprin, objecting to the provision, was read into the record. Their suggestion, that the complaint form contain a declaration that the complaint is true under penalty of perjury was accepted into the rules.
According to DSNY, complaint forms will be available by calling 3-1-1 or from their web site at www.nyc.gov/html/dsny by the time the law takes effect.
Still, the new law has its shortcomings, according to some who testified at the hearing.
Only property owners who actually live in one-, two- and three-family homes can file the complaint. People in one- and two-family homes who don’t own the property can’t file a complaint. Absentee landlords of three-or-more-unit property owners can designate a representative, but tenants can’t file.
The signed complaint, along with all of the objectionable material, has to be mailed to the DSNY enforcement center in Brooklyn. The property owner or designated agent who signed the complaint may have to appear at the Environmental Control Board (ECB) hearing where the complaint will be reviewed.
However, nothing in the new law inhibits Sanitation Enforcement Agents from issuing a notice of violation based on their own observation.
So, by calling 3-1-1, anyone can notify the Sanitation Police about “lawn litter,” and request enforcement.

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