The noise in our heads

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:03

What's up with that?

A bill in the City Council attacks 24-hour work permits

For three nights in recent months, the construction project near where Jane Bonia lives has been loud enough to jolt her out of bed.

"The noise is incredibly loud," said Bonia. "It's impossible to sleep while they're banging on metal. I'm furious that the city would give them a permit to do this."

Each of the times Bonia has complained about the project, at 300 E. 51st St., she's been told the site has a special permit to work around the clock.

So how does the city decide who receives these 24-hour work permits? As of now there is no clear answer, which is why two lawmakers, Council Members Rosie Mendez and Daniel Garodnick, have sponsored a bill to make the process more transparent.

Under the new law citizens would be able to look online and see detailed reasons why each site was allowed a 24-hour work permit. The goal is to cut down on sites given these permits, as well as notifying residents sooner when after-hours work will begin. The bill is under review at the Committee on Housing and Buildings.

"Variances have become the new normal, and as a result construction is happening too regularly at forbidden hours," said Garodnick. "It's unfair to neighbors and developers alike. Neighbors are unhappy because [Dept. of Buildings] hours are meaningless, and developers get exemptions from the city but still get complaints."

The bill would require there be some rationale for an after-hours variance, and give people more information when variances are granted.