Over the last 25 years or so, we have paved over more than 9000 acres of our city land, adding buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and roads. Of course, this is part and parcel of a growing metropolis; however, largely undetected are the small-scale pavings of backyards, front and side areaways, which cumulatively degrade our environment.
A tax abatement to incentivize the removal of hardscape in New York City will be introduced in the next legislative session in January, 2013. It is modeled on the green roof tax abatement and would encourage building owners to remove concrete and asphalt in their backyards, thereby reducing stormwater runoff and having a beneficial impact on the urban heat island effect of dark surfaces which absorb heat during the summer months. We believe that a $4.50 incentive would be enough to offset some of the cost of the removal and planting of vegetation, while being a realistic figure to pass legislative muster.
If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, or helping to garner support for it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.