Pratt Center

February 13, 2019

City Council passes bill creating Basement Conversion Pilot in East New York

Today, Pratt Center's Rebekah Morris joined City Council members and representatives of Chhaya CDC, the Coalition for Community Advancement/Progress East New York, and Cypress Hills LDC on the steps of City Hall to herald the passing of Local Law 1004-A. The bill creates a demonstration pilot to convert basements and cellars in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood into safe, healthy, and affordable apartments. We have been advocating for a pathway for legal basement conversions for over a decade and we are very excited to see our hard work alongside our community-based partners come to fruition.

The final bill and proposed pilot include a few important improvements based on this collective advocacy:

  • allows for the conversion of cellars when certain health and safety criteria are met
  • affordability provisions for the converted unit
  • a pathway for 7 foot ceilings in cases that warrant them
  • a new pathway to reduce financial burdens on homeowners

To learn more, please read the press release (below) announcing the legislation’s passage and/or revisit our testimony from November.