2017-08-09 / Features

Electeds Draft Legislation To Quickly Battle Noise Complaints

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO


Queens City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Daniel Dromm, together with Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos, have introduced legislation (Intro 1653) to require more rapid responses to noise complaints, in particular, construction noise and music from commercial establishments. Queens City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Daniel Dromm, together with Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos, have introduced legislation (Intro 1653) to require more rapid responses to noise complaints, in particular, construction noise and music from commercial establishments. Noise coming from the street or sidewalk below your window?

By now, everyone knows to call 311. Citywide, there were about 420,000 noise complaints registered at 311 in 2016, double the number filed just five years before.

Repeated exposure to elevated levels of noise is related to high stress, hypertension and heart disease. According to an analysis of citywide 311 data by The New York Times (July 19) the median response time for NYPD was 152 minutes, and 4 days for a Department of Environmental Protection noise inspector.

Queens City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Daniel Dromm, together with Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos, have introduced legislation (Intro 1653) to require more rapid responses to noise complaints, in particular, construction noise and music from commercial establishments.

The bill was introduced by the trio on June 21, and now awaits a hearing in the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, chaired by Constantinides.

Intro 1653 requires yearly reports from the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding noise complaints including the number, the amount of time between the complaint and the inspection, the number of violations issued and dismissed and the amount of penalties paid.

The survey of noise complaints to 311 conducted by the Times found loud music and parties were responsible for 224,070 complaints, banging and pounding sounds brought 64,905 complaints, loud talking, 40,494, and loud televisions, 4,033.

Construction noise has also risen, as work has been increasingly permitted by the Department of Buildings beyond the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekday schedule resulting in a rise of noise complaints late at night, early in the morning and on the weekend last year to 27,979 from 7,635 in 2011, according to the Times.

Police from your local precinct generally respond to noise complaints, but inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also investigate i.e., noise from mechanical sources, environmental noise (including after-hours construction) noise from air conditioners and ventilation equipment, alarms and barking dogs.

The DEP currently has 54 noise inspectors in the field with 8 more to be hired next year. In 2016, inspectors handled 58,493 noise complaints, up from 32,838 five years before, with construction noise the top complaint in every borough, except in Staten Island where barking dogs was the number one noise complaint.

Conceding the proposed noise legislation would require hiring many more noise inspectors, the DEP also said adjustments to the citywide 2007 noise code are under consideration.

Councilman Kallos said the need for more inspectors is the reason for the escalating noise problem, maintaining increasing their number would not only deter noise but raise additional fine revenue.

“It is time for the city to hire as many noise inspectors as it takes to respond to complaints when they happen,” he said in the July 19 Times article.

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