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Data draft code brings legal uncertainty

first_imgConsultation on the Data Protection Commissioner’s draft code of practicefor employers has closed amid angry accusations that it would leave employerswide open in tribunal cases. The draft, which employers’ groups say is far too detailed and prescriptive,proposes that employers should not keep detailed sickness records withoutemployees’ express consent. It also warns against keeping information on sex, ethnic origin, disability orother “personal characteristics” unless absolutely necessary. But this would make it impossible for organisations to defend themselvesagainst claims of discrimination and unfair dismissal. “The regulations are at odds with employment tribunal proceedings andleave employers uncertain about their legal situation,” the CIPD’semployee relations adviser Diane Sinclair said. DPC Elizabeth France acknowledged the employment law arguments for keepingrecords, but said she had “doubts how far this line of argument can besustained”. The kind of data warned against in the code is often pivotal in casesinvolving sickness absence and disability. And detailed statistics on sex andrace will be crucial when the Burden of Proof Directive becomes law later thisyear, forcing employers to defend themselves against prima facie cases ofdiscrimination. Data draft code brings legal uncertaintyOn 1 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Quick fix

first_imgIf you are an HR director and would like to share yourtraining experience or review a training course, e-mail: [email protected] So, while these intensive and highly interactive sessionsaren’t ideal for those who prefer more reflective learning, and, rightly, donot pretend to be a substitute for one-to-one coaching, they do provide avaluable stimulus and very practical learning in a time-efficient and popularway. The Mind Gym is such a simple concept it is extraordinary noone thought of it sooner. What it does, is deliver 90-minute, face-to-facemini-workshops on a wide range of leadership and management developmentsubjects (“life skills”) supported by weekly e-mails. Each session ison a different subject and there are over 60 to choose from. Quick fixOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today In our time-poor world, where a day (or, heaven forbid, aweek) away from the office seems all but career suicide to many high-flyingexecutives, the idea of a 90-minute learning “injection” is deeplyseductive. Add to this, the chance to choose from such intriguing titles as”Zoom learning”, “2+2=Green” and “The beautifulquestion”, or to brush up on practical skills such as “Rememberingwhats is name”, “Building rapport” and “Getting thingsdone”, and you sense that this is no normal training offer. You can tell how many teams in the bank have attended andenjoyed this workout from conversations overheard in the corridors –”You’re a Helen”, “Naresh is a Graham, for sure”. Thelasting benefit, however, is that people are learning to understand each othermore and evaluate each other less – a great gain for teamwork. Comments are closed. Next, I decided to attend “Zoom learning”.”At the end of the workout you will have discovered techniques to changeyour learning lens from wide-angle to microscopic”, it claims on therelevant Web page. It also explains, “too much helicopter vision and practicalconsiderations are forgotten, but get stuck in the cornflakes and there is adanger of high activity with minimal, or the wrong, impact”. It makessense, but could The Mind Gym really help me control my “learningaperture”? After a few relevant warm-up exercises we were split intoteams of four and given a case study. Disturbed from a well-earned break on theisland of Mauritius, my team was instructed by company boss Donald H Laser IIto find out what was happening at Arkwright Photocopy, an ailing subsidiarywhose leadership team he had fired yesterday. Can you really hone skills with a single 90-minute workout?Antonia Cowdry, VP organisational development at Deutsche Bank, put The MindGym through its paces We have found The Mind Gym to be a powerful tool, despite orperhaps because of the simplicity of the concept, and it is helping us buildskills and develop culture across Deutsche Bank. Employees in the UK were thefirst to try the workouts, and they are now proving a hit with Deutsche Bank’sGerman graduates as well. The initial successes were with team leaders as partof ongoing development and team building, but we are likely to incorporateworkouts into our induction programmes and other courses right across thebusiness. Related posts:No related photos.center_img I consulted my colleagues and we agreed to give The Mind Gyma trial. The first “workout” we chose was “Your impact onothers”. Within moments, the group of 15 HR specialists who had assembledin a meeting room one Thursday lunchtime were moving around, asking each otherquestions and debating how different people perceive the same behaviour. Usingimaginary characters by the names of Roger, Bridget, Graham and Helen, The MindGym coach quickly had us agreeing on the faults and strengths of varyingpersonality types. He went on to help us discover which characters we each tendto be like (a cross between Roger and Bridget in my case) and therefore what wecan do to increase our impact on the other people we work with.  The psychological backing may be over 20 years old, but theworkshop is thoroughly modern with plenty of exercises, illustrations,break-out groups and laughter. It is amazing how much can be packed into anhour and a half. For further details on The Mind Gym range of workouts, see www.themindgym.com or call +44 (0) 207376 0626. Further information I don’t claim that I can now turn around an ailing businessin an hour. However, I do now consciously think about whether I am looking at aproblem in “floodlight” or “spotlight” mode and when tomove between the two. Previous Article Next Article Another valuable innovation from The Mind Gym is thee-prompt. These are short e-mails sent to all participants once a week for amonth after the workshop. The content varies from short quizzes (match the nineinfluencing styles to nine song titles, for example ‘Big Boss Man’ with‘Pressure’), cartoons and brief exercises, to simple diagnostics andno-nonsense reminders. None of them takes more than five minutes to completeand they are a simple way to help sustain learning. There is also an opt-outfor those who feel that they receive quite enough e-mails already. First, we were encouraged to paint as much of the bigpicture as we could with the basic information we had, and we then had todecide where to “zoom” for more detail by commissioning a report fromany two of the five divisions. My team decided on sales and marketing andcustomer service. Armed with this extra information, we zoomed back out to”floodlight” and revised our view of the main issues. We were aboutto share our conclusions with the rest of the group when we were given anotherchance to zoom in for more detail – there was an e-mail from each departmentand we were again allowed to read any two. Whether it was luck or a consequenceof effective zooming, we picked ones that provided vital information andrevised our recommendations accordingly. The 90-minute concept is a sure-fire winner in the demandingworld of investment banking. While we may develop our own workouts for some ofthe more specialised areas, for leadership and general management skills TheMind Gym will be hard to beat, with its high-impact workshops and lively,knowledgeable coaches who deliver what they promise. Deutsche Bank has run a wide range of workouts, including”Body language”, “Conflict handling”, “Speed of soundreading” and “Creativity for logical thinkers”. The Mind Gym’sclaim that over 90% of participants say they will apply what they have learntis consistent with our participant feedback.last_img read more

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Employees to get training to build career

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Plans to overcome NHS skills shortages through the use of a skills escalatorwere outlined at the AHHRM’s national conference. Andrew Foster, the NHS’ director of HR, told delegates this meant givingemployees access to the necessary training so they can progress to the nextlevel. He said the skills escalator could be a powerful tool for the NHS and helpthe long-term unemployed find health jobs. Foster explained, “The skills escalator can help us fill skillsshortages and it also lets staff build a career path and increase theirexpectations. “I think it is one of the most powerful tools available to us and ithas been used successfully in Denmark and London. It also gets people out oflong-term unemployment and that is part of our responsibility as a publicemployer.” In his speech to the AHHRM conference, Foster said that HR was working toalleviate the employee shortages in the NHS, but it would have to beincreasingly competitive to succeed. “We want to expand recruitment aims but we are in a competitive marketwhere the police, education and others all have similar aims,” he added. He also promised a new study to highlight the value of HR and the effect ithas on improving the service. “In clinical terms better working practices will make people workbetter so hopefully we can provide some firm evidence,” he said. Fosteralso promised a new study to link HR to the effect it has on improving theservice. Employees to get training to build careerOn 2 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Severn Trent gives workers a computer for Christmas

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Severn Trent Water is to spend an estimated £2 million on giving its staffhome computers. The water company is making the investment to help educate and train itsstaff in computer and Internet skills. All of the firm’s 4,500 employees will be set a mid-December deadline tosign up for the voluntary scheme, which started last week and will cost eachemployee £12 a month for the use of the home computer. David Akers, employee relations manager at Severn Trent Water, said,”We hope to give as many of our staff as possible an early Christmaspresent and at the same time develop the skills of our workforce. “Business will be done more and more with computers and over the Web,especially with customers, so we want to make sure our staff have the necessaryskills. “Although the home computer is for personal and not work use, theindividual benefit for our staff will have a knock-on effect at work.” The initiative is also expected to improve short-term staff retention as thecomputers are on a three-year lease and any employee that leaves the company inthat period will be expected to pay the full £432 price or return the computer. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Severn Trent gives workers a computer for ChristmasOn 27 Nov 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Q&A

first_img Previous Article Next Article Legalquestions and answersQOur company is restructuring to cope with the recent economic downturn. Weneed to make certain changes to how our work is organised and this may have aneffect on the employment prospects of some of our staff. A number of employeeshave suggested that we have to consult with them over such key issues. Is thistrue?AA new EC Directive will, progressively over the next seven years, requireemployers with more than 50 employees based in the UK to inform and consultemployee representatives on certain key issues. Thewording of the Directive has now been finalised by the Council and the EuropeanParliament and it was expected to be formally adopted by the end of March 2002.Employerswill be required to consult with employees on key issues, for example: thefinancial condition of the business; employment prospects; and proposed changesin work organisation or contractual relations (including redundancies andrestructures).Theconsultation will have to be undertaken with a view to reaching agreement, withemployee representatives having the right to a reasoned response on any pointsthey make.Thepenalties for failing to meet these requirements will be determined by thenational government, but must be sufficient to be ‘effective, proportionate anddissuasive’.TheUK has three years to adopt legislation to implement this directive. And theindications are that initially thereafter (2005), it will apply only to thoseemployers with more than 150 employees. However, after two years in 2007, itwill also apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and one year later, tothose with 50 or more.Inpractice, the new directive is likely to have a profound effect on the wayemployers take decisions which are likely to have an impact on employment.‘Management’s right to manage’ is going to be heavily qualified in the future.QWe are finding it increasingly difficult to understand the rules andregulations surrounding data protection. Particularly, over the issue ofworkplace monitoring. Will the Employment Practices Data Protection Codeclarify this or is it simply another list of regulations?AThis Code is designed to assist employers to comply with the Data ProtectionAct 1998. The first part of the Code has just been released. It deals withrecruitment and selection. The remaining parts, covering employment records,monitoring at work and medical information, will be released over the next fewmonths.Thecode should prove invaluable to employers: by adhering to it, employers arelikely to be able to prevent challenges to their data protection practices; thecode may also help employers to comply with other legislation, such as theHuman Rights Act 1998 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and byfollowing the code, employers may improve their housekeeping practices,disposing of out-of-date information and improving access to filing systems. Q&AOn 2 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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HR needs to stop criticising itself

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article HR needs to stop criticising itselfOn 14 May 2002 in Personnel Today Many ‘experts’ criticise HR professionals for a lack of involvement inbusiness strategy. HR’s response should be to help one another become moreinfluential at senior level, writes Louise AllenCan I be the only person in the field of strategic HR who feels a wave offrustration wash over them every time an ‘expert’ highlights the shortcomingsof HR professionals? It is criticisms about our lack of understanding or involvement in businessstrategy that I find most tiresome. I agree that to work in the field ofstrategic HR and not understand the importance of business planning is a wasteof everybody’s time. As HR professionals, we are obliged to recognise thatthese are clear development needs and opportunities because we have to be ableto make a difference and to measure what we contribute. But we should challenge those who criticise so freely – providingconstructive suggestions is a lot more difficult. There are great HR directors and managers out there, who take their seat atthe executive table with great confidence and produce innovative people plans.However, there are also many organisations where this is not possible. Cultures in these employers are often dictated by a lack of acceptance andunderstanding by senior line managers who refuse to have anything to do with‘soft and fluffy people stuff’. These can be the same senior managers who often reject the notion ofbusiness plans as a waste of management time. Typical phrases include: ‘we havethe budgets – what else do we need?’ and ‘anyone who doesn’t know what’sexpected of them round here, doesn’t belong’. Where these prejudices exist in organisations, the opportunities for HRprofessionals to make a realistic contribution are much diminished. There are,however, ways and means to ensure that the HR team is doing everything it canto position itself well even when barriers exist. It is vital to understand your business. How well do you understand yourbusiness’ key performance indicators? It is important to be able to engageother managers about business performance and related issues. There also has to be clear business links in the HR strategy. Can youdemonstrate business benefits for all your activities? It is also important youare prepared to be held accountable for success measures in exactly the sameway other business managers are. HR has to be able to lead and manage business change. How confident are youthat you can support and lead managers through the constant challenge ofbusiness change? The implementation of an innovate people strategy will only be achieved ifyou understand the role your HR team plays. Are you and your HR colleaguesfocused on the improvement of business performance, or do you get caught up inenforcing rules and regulations? Influencing and leadership skills are also important. Are you able toconfidently present and represent the people issues? It is vital you caninfluence the business debate in your organisation to ensure people values arefully reflected in the resulting business plans. HR professionals need personalskills around ‘intent’ and ‘impact’ to be effective. While none of these suggestions are solutions in themselves, in myexperience they will provide opportunities to make a difference. Rather than HR criticising itself, we should be looking to help each otherlearn to be influential with senior managers. We need to make moreopportunities to share best practice through networking and the like. These are just some of the ways to overcome our deficiencies. I know this isan area the CIPD is keenly aware of and I – like many others – await itsdeliberations with interest. In the meantime, we are in the development business – so let us stop criticisingeach other and focus on support. By Louise Allen, a director of Cedar International Comments are closed. last_img read more

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Effective succession management

first_imgTop tips by International consultancy DDIA DDI survey of more than 1,000 executives and HR professionals found thatin most cases, organisations prefer to fill more than two-thirds of seniorleadership positions from within the company. Over the years, working with19,000 organisations worldwide, DDI has identified the most important driversthat provide effective succession management. Here are the top 10: Have an up-to-date succession management system Individuals need to be developed at an organisational level rather than forspecific positions, and then matched to the most appropriate positions asvacancies arise. Meaningful, measurable goals associated with tangiblesuccession management outcomes, should be set in place. Know all the high potential people within a company CEOs should be encouraged to look throughout their entire organisation forcandidates suitable for accelerated development instead of solely relying ontheir personal knowledge. Again, systems must be in place to find these people,particularly those who don’t typically interact with senior executives. ButCEOs should get to know the high-potential people within their organisations aswell as possible. Have common standards across your organisation Effective organisations have set up systems to identify exceptionallytalented individuals throughout their organisations, especially those workinginternationally. The criteria which constitutes high potential needs to beagreed upon to create transparency and help line managers and divisional HRpeople to spot talent. It is important to attach similar recognition topreviously unknown leaders from newly-acquired segments of the firm. The best people are not always the ones who get the most meaningful earlyassignments Not all potential leaders have equal access to the best job and developmentassignments, or the opportunity to take on significant responsibility early intheir careers. To level the playing field for all of an organisation’sprospective leaders, the evaluation of individuals with high potential shouldbe based on core, basic skills enhanced by well-crafted evaluation. Treat candidates as individuals Once individuals are identified as having high potential, their developmentneeds must be diagnosed so that they can be given the experience and trainingnecessary to prepare them for success at senior levels. Ensure that development plans are implemented Ideally, a development-planning discussion would be combined with settingjob objectives at the start of each new assignment. Once given their tasks, adeadline, and told of the support they can expect, those high potentialindividuals will be able to determine which of their development needs can bemet. Never assume short-term issues are more important The best companies act on the belief that their future depends on the peoplethey develop. And many make time for succession management activities becausethey believe that both their boards and the stock market are increasinglyconcerned about the depth of talent in a company. Understand that diversity can’t be left to chance Once a succession management system is in place, diversity goals must be setand aggressively re-inforced through the CEO’s behaviour. Leaders mustcommunicate the need for corporate diversity, but being involved in planningand championing the development of those with high potential sends out astronger message. Let people learn from their mistakes When an individual makes a wrong decision, it must be considered as anopportunity to learn from their mistakes. Fostering an atmosphere where peoplecan make mistakes and learn from the experience is an important part of asuccessful management programme. Remain patient Remember: just as it takes time to build a client base or penetrate newmarkets, people – even the brightest and most talented – need time to grow anddevelop. www.ddiworld.com Comments are closed. Effective succession managementOn 19 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Maternity rights at a glance

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. TheEmployment Act 2002 has introduced some far-reaching changes to the law andstreamlined this complicated area, writes Emma GraceMaternitylegislation has recently undergone a fairly radical change. While the impetusfor this are the ‘family-friendly’ ideals of the Government, the good news isthey have taken the opportunity to streamline this complicated area of law.Allemployees who had a baby on or since 6 April 2003 will be affected by the newlaw. The previous law still covers women due before this date, so the two willwork in tandem for a period.Abrief outline of the entitlements that applied before 6 April will help toillustrate where the changes have come in.–A maximum of 40 weeks leave in total – 18 weeks ordinary maternity leave (OML),plus a maximum possible 29 weeks additional maternity leave (AML)–To qualify for AML, the employee had to have one year or more continuousemployment by the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC)–AML was calculated from the date of birth. –To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) during her OML, a woman had tohave worked for her employer for 26 weeks prior to the 15th week before the EWCand paid sufficient National Insurance contributions–SMP was 90 per cent of her salary for the first six weeks, and then a flat rate(£75 a week gross) for the remaining 12 weeks.Thesystem had some problems. Notably:–There were too many different dates for calculation purposes–There were different qualifying periods for leave and pay–AML was based on an unknown date, the date of birth. When the employee left,the employer did not know for definite when she would be coming backThenew law is far more simple and dates are calculated, wherever possible, from afixed point, with the same date and calculation periods used. The idea is tomake it easier for everyone to understand.Ata glance, the new legislation provides: –Maternity leave lasting up to 52 weeks in total–OML of 26 weeks–AML of up to a further 26 weeks, starting on the day of the last day of OML–To qualify for AML, employees must have 26 weeks’ continuous employment priorto the 15th week before the EWC (the same test as for SMP qualification).Noticeperiods have also been affected by the new legislation. The current legislationprovides:–Twenty-one days’ notice from the employee to the employer for both leave andpay–No flexibility to change this date once given.Theproblem here is the lack of flexibility and short notice; 21 days givesemployers little chance to organise cover. The lack of flexibility discouragesemployees from giving longer notice to employers.Intentionto leaveAta glance, the legislation now provides:–The employee must give notice no later than the 15th week before the EWC, andmust inform her employer that she is pregnant, the date of her EWC and the dateshe intends to start her leave–For the first time, the employer must reply giving the date that leave willend. This must be done within 28 days from receiving notification from theemployee.Thisis a much better system for employers, providing far more notice of thepregnancy and leave, allowing employers much more time to plan their cover.Because it is more flexible, this encourages both parties to be up frontearlier about their plans, knowing they are under no obligation to keep tothem. Employeesthen have to give 28 days’ notice, rather than 21, if they wish to end theirmaternity leave earlier than planned.Asbefore, SMP will last for the OML period – and thus 26 weeks, rather than thecurrent 18. The first six weeks are still paid at 90 per cent of salary, andthe flat rate then applies for the remaining 20 – and this has gone up to £100per week.Oncean employee has qualified for SMP, she is entitled to be paid this regardlessof whether she is still employed and regardless of why she left youremployment. This corrects a slight anomaly of law in this area.Oneinteresting thing to bear in mind is that with 52 weeks’ maternity leavepossible, an employee could well become pregnant again during her leave, and itis quite possible she could start a new period of leave without ever returningto work. Theright to return to work remains, however. Employers can take small comfort inthe fact that, following a period of AML, the right to return becomes aslightly more limited right. Where a woman has been absent for a period ofyears, showing it was not reasonably practicable for her to return to herprevious job is more likely to be possible.EmmaGrace is head of employment law at Nelson & Co Previous Article Next Article Maternity rights at a glanceOn 1 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

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“Can’t live for free”: Weekly rental tenants face eviction despite ban

first_imgEmail Address* State courts have taken different approaches to weekly rentals.In November, an Orlando judge allowed one model to evict three people, but delayed the eviction until Jan. 1, after the moratorium is to expire. In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak imposed a new eviction ban through the end of March, barring any for other than noise-related violations. In Texas and Arizona, courts have sided with the landlord in 50 percent of evictions proceedings filed by Budget Suites of America, owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow.Barnes, the former governor, who is defending Efficiency Lodge in court, said the company is willing to work with tenants — to a point. “There are mortgages to be paid,” he said. “You just can’t live there for free.”[NYT] — E.B. SolomontContact E.B. Solomont Landlords and tenants of weekly rentals are facing off over whether the eviction ban applies to them. (iStock)Weekly rentals are a last resort for low-income tenants. But despite a national eviction ban, they have also become a battleground between landlords and renters.The reason: Weekly rentals fall into a legal gray area. Many are licensed as motels, which are exempt from the eviction moratorium, but they function as rental apartments for tenants who spend months or even years there.Some owners of weekly rental units aren’t waiting for the ban to expire at the end of the year to find out if it affects them, according to the New York Times.Lynetrice Preston, of Georgia, said she was locked out of her $200-a-week apartment this summer when she fell behind on rent. She and two teenage daughters live at Efficiency Lodge, which is partly owned by a broker of former Gov. Roy Barnes.Preston borrowed money to regain access to the unit but is now suing the landlord to stave off eviction.Read moreLandlords and tenants react to NY’s latest eviction ban End of eviction ban to unlease 14,000 warrants in NY Flip flop on eviction ban highlights NY’s chaotic response Share via Shortlink TagsevictionEviction moratoriumrental apartmentscenter_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Full Name*last_img read more

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Real estate industry calls sewage-overflow bill “extreme”

first_img Tags Full Name* Queens Council member Costa Constantinides is sponsoring the bill. (Getty, Costa Constantinides) The City Council is pushing a bill to limit how much asphalt can cover a development site, but real estate professionals say it ignores the realities of building in the city.The measure, sponsored by Queens Council member Costa Constantinides, would cap the percentage of material that doesn’t absorb rainwater, such as asphalt or concrete, covering building sites.For future projects, no more than half of a lot could be impermeable, according to the bill. Existing development above the 50 percent threshold would be grandfathered but could not be made any more impermeable. Gas stations and certain industrial sites would be exempt.Constantinides is trying to reduce how much raw sewage flows into the city’s waterways. Much of the city has a combined sewer system, meaning rainwater and sewage flow into the same pipes, which get overwhelmed during rainfalls. To prevent untreated waste from backing up into homes and streets, it is diverted into the Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek, East River and numerous other waterways.But the Real Estate Board of New York said his bill applies a one-size-fits-all approach to entirely different areas — whether they are high-density or low-scale, or prone to sewage overflows or not.And what would happen, the trade group asked, if a below-grade room had a permeable surface above it?There are surely other problems with the bill that no one has contemplated yet, the group added.“This is by no means exhaustive given the complexities of designing these systems and the variety of below-grade conditions,” the group wrote in testimony submitted at a hearing on the bill this week. “Further study and outreach is necessary.”The New York Coalition of Code Consultants, whose members help secure project approvals, called the measure “extreme” and said it would restrain development.“New York City may be a concrete jungle, but residents also live sustainability through dense housing and take advantage of walkability, proliferating bike lanes and public transportation,” the group testified. “There are ways to encourage more sustainable development without completely stifling new construction.”The bill, introduced in 2018, is part of an effort to make the city more resilient to climate change. Late last year, the City Planning Commission launched a public review of a proposal to address coastal flood resiliency through zoning.Contact Kathryn Brenzel Email Address* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Message* Share via Shortlink city councilCosta Constantinideslast_img read more

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