Construction sites would see significant fee increases for off-hours noise under proposed bill

A proposed City Council bill would make it more expensive for construction companies to turn their noise up to 11 after hours.

City Councilman Mark Levine introduced legislation last week that would increase by more than $400 the daily fees construction companies must pay to do work outside typical business hours. Levine said last year there were roughly 29,000 complaints made to 311 about noisy construction taking place on weekdays between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. — a 20% increase from the nearly 25,000 complaints in 2014.

"As we fight for responsible development that preserves the character of our neighborhoods, we need to make sure developers are being mindful of the effect their work has on local communities," Levine said in a statement.

Under current construction laws, if a company works outside the normal hours it has to apply for a special After-Hours Variance (AHV) permit and pay an initial  filing fee of $100 in addition to a daily fee of $80. Levine’s bill raises the daily fee to $500. 

The councilman cited an audit by the city comptroller’s office that found that 74% of all noise complaints between January of 2014 and June of 2016 were construction-related.

Department of Buildings spokesman Andrew Rudansky said the agency is reviewing the legislation. The department issued 18,866 new After-Hours Variance (AHV) permits for after-hours construction work, and renewed 48,738 AHV permits last year.

"We issue these after hours variance permits to construction sites primarily in the interest of public safety, when it is determined that certain types of construction work can be performed more safely during off hours when there are less people and traffic in the adjacent area," Rudansky said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, the bill had no co-sponsors. A spokesperson for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement the speaker “will monitor this bill as it goes through the legislative process.”

With Sarina Trangle

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