In this issue:
· White House Blocks OSHA Crane Safety Regulations
· NYC Plaza Program Debuts
· AIANYS Opposes Senate and Assembly Ruling on Corporate Practice
· AIA Report Examines Sustainability Incentives
White House Blocks OSHA Crane Safety Regulations
Susan Podziba, a public policy mediator, was hired by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2003 to unite union and industry representatives of the Cranes and Derricks Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee (C-DAC) to update federal crane and derrick regulations. Once a new standard was agreed upon, the next step was for OSHA to publish it in the Federal Register as its proposed rule, and after a period for public comment, it would become law. However, four years later, OSHA has yet to publish the rule, despite claiming that the revised crane standard is a priority.
In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times (“Safety Starts at the Top,” 06.12.08), Podziba claims that OSHA planned to publish the rule this August; however, the White House chief of staff, Johshua Bolten, recently informed administrative agencies that no proposed rules were to be published after June 1 except under “extraordinary” circumstances, and that no draft rules could be made final after November 1. Podziba strongly encourages the administrator of OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke Jr., to request, and if necessary demand, an exception to both deadlines.
NYC Plaza Program Debuts
Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC calls for the creation of a new plaza in every NYC community to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of quality open space. The “NYC Plaza Program” aims to design and build public plazas in partnership with local non-profit organizations. It will find at least one opportunity in each of the city’s 59 community districts to reclaim underutilized street spaces and transform them into successful plazas that express each neighborhood’s character and scale. Partnerships are at the core of this new program. In collaboration with the Department of Small Business Services, the NYC Department of Transportation will work with community-based organizations to design, build, manage, and maintain these plazas.
AIANYS Opposes Senate and Assembly Ruling on Corporate Practice
Many states allow design professionals to form regular or business corporations. However, under current NY law, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and land surveying firms must be owned 100% by licensed design professionals. Recently amended by both the Senate and the Assembly, AIANYS believes the Corporate Practice of Design Firms Initiative places restrictive ownership provisions on design professional firms, subjecting them to competitive disadvantages. If enacted, design firms would be allowed to offer key personnel such as business managers, human resource managers, or computer information and other specialists up to 25% equity interest in the firm. For more information and to fill out a form letter for legislators, go to the AIA Government Advocacy Center.
AIA Report Examines Sustainability Incentives
State and local governments are using a variety of incentive-based techniques to encourage green building practices, but some efforts have encountered challenges such as the high costs of new incentive programs, and shortcomings in resources, and application. To help communities overcome these obstacles, the AIA commissioned a report, Local Leaders in Sustainability — Green Incentives, that examines many types of incentive programs, details the inherent barriers to success, and highlights best practice examples from around the country. The report identifies some of the most attractive incentives: tax incentives, density/floor area ratio bonuses, and expedited permitting.