2010-04-28 / Front Page

DOB: Activate Long Idle Work Sites

By Richard Gentilviso

Have you ever noticed a construction site that, after days, weeks, months or even years, makes no progress? The Department of Buildings has noticed as well.
“There’s a number of ways we’re trying to identify sites where there is no work going on,” said Donald Ranshte, director of community affairs for the Department of Buildings.
After extensive canvassing in all five boroughs that began on January 1, DOB has identified 560 construction sites citywide (about 290 in Queens) where there is no work going on. Ranshte, speaking at the April meeting of the Queens borough cabinet, said the sites are unsafe and pose “any number of hazards”.
Using a new local law that went into effect on Oct. 28, 2009, DOB is encouraging property owners where work has been interrupted to file an application for the Stalled Sites Program. The law expires June 30, 2013.
In cases where an owner may have run out of money or shifted priorities, the Stalled Sites Program enables the owners and their crews to get back to work fast once financing is secured. Normally, city construction code requires that work permits automatically lapse if work is suspended at a site for more than 12 months.
The new law also helps to protect citizens from unsafe stalled construction by requiring an in-depth safety maintenance plan. In return, owners may have their active work permits renewed for up to four years under the Stalled Sites Program. Owners must secure the property by installing construction fences with view panels, prevent trespassing and provide DOB inspectors with access upon request. For information, visit StalledSites@buildings.nyc.gov.
Ranshte also announced that DOB and Borough President Helen Marshall will jointly host a meeting on construction safety in local communities on Thursday, April 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, Room 213, 120-55 Queens Blvd. Representatives from the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Housing Preservation and Development will also be on hand. The event is part of DOB’s sixth annual Construction Safety Week from April 26 to April 30. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/safetyweek.
In another presentation, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said the three-year project to install automated meter reading (AMR) is about one-third complete.
“More than 100,000 accounts in Queens are now served by AMR,” said Warren Liebold, DEP Bureau of Customer Services director of marketing and conservation.
Liebold said the AMR project would eliminate estimated billing and water meter reading, allowing up to 99 percent accuracy in future billing and water meter reading. Work in Queens is projected to be finished by the end of this year. Authorized contractors, with DEP identification, are currently going door-to-door for the free installation.
Sideya Sherman, senior planner at the Municipal Art Society Planning Center, said the fourth annual Livable Neighborhoods Program would be held at Hunter College on Saturday, May 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Livable Neighborhoods Program provides training to anyone interested in strengthening their local neighborhood. For information about how to register, visit www.mas.org/Inp.

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