The City that never sleeps may be able to get a few more Z’s following the passing of Intro. 1653-B into law on January 17th. The anti-noise pollution bill authored by City Councilmember Ben Kallos, proposes a new set of guidelines aimed at reducing noise pollution due to before-hours and after-hours work on construction sites. Beyond establishing lowered permissible noise limits, the new law mandates that the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) set timelines for responding to complaints, require companies to file noise mitigation plans electronically, and expands the powers of DEP inspectors to issue stop-work orders against offending sites.
New Aims at Cutting Construction Site Noise Pollution
“Noise pollution has gotten out of control when your alarm clock has been replaced by a jackhammer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at the bill’s signing. The law comes after a 2016 OpenData study concluded that while the number of noise complaints in the city was exponentially increasing, the number of violations issued decreased. In the first half of 2016, over 18,600 noise complaints due to construction operations were reported using the City’s 311 system, often being directed and redirected across various city agencies. As a result, many claims were not responded to for an average of 4 days, long after any enforceable action. The new law allows for inspectors to take readings from the street level, no longer requiring access to the home or dwelling of the complainant, cutting down on response time.
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The law also requires that the DEP publish the “manner by which noise levels shall be measured during inspections conducted” on the city’s website as well as provide an annual report containing the number of complaints received, the number of inspectors, the number of violations issued and their civil penalties among other guidelines for public review. While it may not ease the minds of many construction firms working within residential areas, it does offer everyone a more transparent means to track complaints and may dissuade those who would otherwise abuse the 311 reporting system.
Via the New York City Council