CNY Solidarity Coalition

Join us to end childhood lead poisoning in Syracuse!

Join us to end childhood lead poisoning in Syracuse!

The Syracuse Common Council and the Mayor’s office have announced a public comment period for a proposed lead ordinance for the city of Syracuse.

We have only until March 5th to send in comments.

The city of Rochester passed a similar ordinance in 2006 – the city saw an incredible 90% reduction in childhood lead poisoning following its passage over the next decade.

READ: the proposed lead ordinance in the DGEIS www.syrgov.net/Neighborhood_and_Business_Development.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0lPJGDnF0KIo38iEZIHIE0Ijqm5IS2ODMx-usCQGHRgR5JADhFmQFE5k8

PROVIDE PUBLIC COMMENT.
EMAIL: Comments on the ordinance should go to NBD@Syrgov.net

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Families for Lead Freedom Now! Is a parent-led community group advocating for this and other measures. Please contact Oceanna Fair or Darlene Medley for more information about upcoming membership meetings or ways to get involved at leadsafe2025@lscny.org.

Syracuse Lead Ordinance –
Public Comment Guide

After releasing a General Environmental Impact Study (GEIS), the City is now asking for the public to comment on the document. If you wish to provide comments, this guide is to help direct you through the process and draw attention to some concerns that you may wish to raise in your comments.

General Process: Comments can be emailed, or mailed. The email address is: NBD@syr.gov; if you’re mailing them, mail to: Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, 201 E. Washington St., Suite 600, Syracuse NY 13202.

Technical Details: Written comments can be addressed to Dear Sir/Madam. Be sure to place your name on a comment; however, you don’t need to include other information. Public comments can be obtained by the public under the Freedom of Informational Act (FOIL) process. Any other information you include can be seen by anyone who FOILs those documents under the law.

What to write about: Please feel free to personalize your comment, to add your concerns about lead poisoning, in general, or about your local knowledge about lead poisoning. However, to help you with the process, here are some topics that you may wish to bring up:

Concern #1: Out-of-date dust wipe sampling clearance levels

  • Problem: the written standards in the Ordinance fail to meet the current federal standards set by HUD and EPA for detecting dust-lead hazards.
  • Recommendation: The Ordinance should be revised at Section 54-7(D) to meet EPA/HUD standards. Also, make the window trough standard more stringent – it should be lowered to 100 ug/ft2.

Concern #2: Incomplete Definitions for Commissioner, Director, and Department.

  • Problem: The ordinance does not provide definitions for these key terms and it is possible that this could lead to legal to challenges that defeat the Syracuse Lead Ordinance in a court of law.
  • Recommendation: To avoid legal challenges on this simple point, clearly define, in Section 54-4, the terms, COMMISSIONER, DIRECTOR, and DEPARTMENT.

Concern #3: Loopholes allowing for Landlords to not complete work to proper standards

  • Problem: There are several points that allow landlords to pass substandard work off or to delay work for an unacceptable period.
  • Recommendation: Do not allow for inspectors to release properties when only interim controls are in place. Require the placement of interim controls in the case of inclement weather of over a week. Remove the loophole for abatement work done by landlord or unpaid family members.

Concern #4: The Temporary Permanent

  • Problem: The bill defines its goal is to create “permanent” protection from lead. Just as the only safe level of lead in the blood is having no lead in the blood, the only true permanent solution is the removal of lead from walls and soils. But the bill defines “permanent” as lasting 20 years. Yet, we know that no painted porch surface lasts twenty years in Syracuse. This means that buildings who have been encapsulated are exempt permanently from the ordinance’s oversight, yet the “permanent encapsulation” of porches may only last a few years.
  • Recommendation: Redefine “permanent” as lead remediation: the permanent removal walls or soil bearing lead paint. Define “encapsulation” as “abatement,” and require properties through paint encapsulation be returned to the oversight of the bill with the following language: “given environmental conditions from Syracuse weather, houses remediated via paint encapsulation shall continue to be inspected every 6 years.”

Concern #5: Which alternative should the city choose?

  • Problem: There are two alternative versions of the bill. One (Alternative 1) is significantly stronger and the other (Alternative 2) is weaker and would not have sufficient strength to deal with the crisis.
  • Recommendation: The Common Council should accept Alternative 1

Concern #6: Transparency of information on lead poisoning and abatement

  • Problem: Currently information about abatement and violations is publicly available but only to those who can come in to the office during business hours. This is not sufficient transparency when affordable digital options are available.
  • Recommendation: Make the data not just public, but place it in an electronic database.

Concern #7: Protection for tenants against retaliation is below NYS legal standards

  • Problem: New York law regarding tenancy changed in 2019 and this ordinance reflects the old standard.
  • Recommendation: Second 54-13 (B) should the text should change the time period for the rebuttable presumption from six months to one year, to be consistent with NYS law (see: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPP/223-B). I should also be made stronger to protect tenants from retaliation (for one year) if they contact the Onondaga County or NYS Department of Health in connection with a concern over childhood lead poisoning.

Co sponsors: CNY Solidarity Coalition, Families for Lead Freedom Now!, Syracuse DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), National Action Network Syracuse chapter, Campaign for NY Health, Onondaga Votes, Syracuse PSL (Party for Socialism and Liberation), Uplift Syracuse, Syracuse Lead Prevention Coalition

Please message CNYSC or contact Marianna.kaufman@gmail.com if your community group or organization would like to co sponsor

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