June 21, 2010Hon. David Paterson, GovernorThe Executive Chamber, State CapitalAlbany, New York 12224Dear Governor Paterson,We are writing to express our concerns with A-5667-C and to respectfully urge you todisapprove the bill, if agreement cannot be reached today on chapter amendments thatwould address our concerns.We are long-time supporters of the rights of tenants, and we favor a strong renewal of theLoft Law. However, we believe that the blanket extension of coverage of the Loft Law tobuildings that were illegally occupied for residential purposes during the period betweenJanuary 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 will displace manufacturing businesses andblue-collar jobs — in the very locations that the City and State have previously sought toprotect them.While there are numerous buildings previously occupied by manufacturing uses wherelong-term tenants should be provided with tenant protections and a path to legalization,this legislation is over-broad and undermines important protections set out in State andCity law. The original loft law was much more limited in scope in regard to whichbuildings it covered. We encourage you to support instead a more limited version of thisbill that would still protect loft tenants without undermining important City and State jobretention policies.This legislation would give a large windfall to building owners who knowingly rented outspace to residential tenants in violation of the City’s zoning laws. We call your attentionto a 2004 report, “Illegal Residential Conversions in the East Williamsburg In-PlaceIndustrial Park ,” by the New York Industrial Retention Network, which describes howalmost two dozen landlords converted a half-million square feet of industrial space toresidential use without ever applying for a legal building permit.Many of these buildings present substantial safety hazards to the occupants becauseexisting and previous manufacturing in the buildings currently use or may have usedchemicals, pressurized gases and other hazardous materials that are incompatible withresidential space. Additionally, many of these structures do not comply with the buildingand fire codes as they do not have two means of egress, sprinklers, or adequate fireseparations from legal industrial uses in the buildings.