New law allows merchants to be notified of complaints

City would inform business owners within 72 hours

May 16, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr. (left) speaks before Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill into law. Photo courtesy of Cornegy’s office
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The city will create a notification system to allow business owners to be informed about excessive noise and other complaints lodged against them under a new law recently signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On May 10, the mayor signed legislation sponsored by Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant) requiring the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to create a notification system that would inform business owners of any complaints lodged against them with city agencies within 72 hours.

Business owners will be able to sign up for the notification program voluntarily.

The bill will make life easier for the city’s merchants, according to Cornegy, chairman of the council’s Committee on Small Business.

“Today marks the end of a long road traveled. When I first became chair of the Committee on Small Business, I set a goal to leave the small businesses of our great city in a better place than when I started,” Cornegy said in a statement.

While the city does provide a mechanism through which business owners can search for rules and regulations, a data base known as the Open Data Portal, the system has not served merchants well, Cornegy said.

“Business owners are frustrated with the city’s Open Data Portal. They should not have to spend time searching for complaints against their business. This law solves a 20th century problem with a 21st century solution utilizing technology,” Cornegy said.

The original intent of the bill was to help bar and restaurant owners that were hit with noise complaints through the city’s 311 system by informing them of any complaints made against their establishments before they sought renewal of their liquor licenses.

Business leaders praised the new business-friendly law.

“This bill is the bridge Brooklyn business owners need to receive important information quickly and conveniently,” Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan said in a statement. “When service providers can act upon a complaint or request in a timely manner it benefits their bottom line, as well as the consumer and the rest of the community.”

Rotimi Akinnuoye, owner of Bed-Vyne Brew, said the new law is an important step in protecting business owners.

“As a business owner of a couple of bars in Bedford-Stuyvesant, I would like to thank Councilmember Cornegy for being a visionary and providing business owners with much-needed relief.  As a business owner, we really did not have any recourse because anyone with any kind of ill will toward a business could literally just call all day, everyday and that was insane,” Akinnuoye said.


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