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Hurricane Ida’s unexpected flash floods that bombarded Queens houses and apartment buildings and killed more than a dozen people have amplified a debate over basement apartment regulation in the city.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, housing advocates and a group of councilmembers pointed to a stalled program aimed at converting basement apartments that are prohibited by New York City zoning and building codes as a potential tool for combating basement apartment fatalities.
With four months left in office, Mayor de Blasio said this week he has no plan for dealing with the combination of poor drainage infrastructure and illegal apartments that resulted in 13 deaths in the city from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa, the top two men hoping to take his job in January, don’t have that luxury.