Battle Hill Association Protests construction noise, violations in its neighborhood to Common Council

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WPCNR BATTLE HILL BULLETIN. From the Battle Hill Association. December 13, 2015:

Patty Cantu, as Co-President of the Battle Hill Association delivered this presentation during Citizens to Be Heard (the traditionally non-televised segment of monthly Common Council meeting) last Monday, highlighting the neighborhood concern that construction rules and regulations are not being enforced and coordinated by the city Building Department and the Department of Public Safety, and calling for elimination or at least, curtailment of construction on Sundays. Here is what she said.

Good Evening Mr. Mayor and Common Council members:
 
First, we are here tonight to thank you, Mr. Mayor, for your quick response and assistance this weekend with a Building Department issue (builders adding an illegal 3rd floor and ignoring a stop-work order).
 
Next, the Battle Hill Association has identified several issues and is providing possible solutions to benefit all residents and neighborhoods in the City of White Plains.
 
Construction Noise: A Quality-of-Life Issue:Currently, City of WP ordinances allow for construction and tree work to be performed in residential neighborhoods seven days a week. On Sunday, contractors can start at 9am and work until 7pm. The resulting noise has seriously affected our quality of life and quiet time in our homes on weekends. Noise from construction and tree work include large trucks, sawing, hammering, drilling, removal of debris, chainsaws, trees coming down, tree chippers, workers’ yelling, etc.
 
We are requesting that our council revisit this ordinance to NO LONGER ALLOW CONSTRUCTION ON SUNDAYS. 
 
The City currently has in place an ordinance to limit the use of leaf blowers to control noise in residential neighborhoods. There is also a decibel limit for noise radiating from establishments on Mamaroneck Ave. that may affect residents in surrounding streets.
 
Neighborhoods that are dense in terms of property size, as in Battle Hill, are more likely to experience noise as an issue. Just as the City limits leaf blower use by property size – ie., no more than one blower per 5000 sq. ft. property size – construction activity could also be limited in the same manner.
 
Possible solutions:
 
First: Eliminate the current ordinance entirely that allows construction on Sundays from 9am to 7pm in residential neighborhoods.
 
Second: An amendment to the ordinance that, if construction must be performed on Sundays, the contractor must file an application and pay a fee, and permission for the activity must be granted by the Building Commissioner, with time and date to be regulated, such as 11am to 5pm. This process will allow the City of WP to notify neighbors in advance of construction projects just as is the case with a variance.
 
Several related issues:
 
First: We understand that there are no communications or status updates sent from the Building Department to Public Safety on sites that have Stop-Work orders and yet are working illegally and especially on weekends when the Building Department is closed.
 
Next: The public, including neighborhood leadership, has no contact information for the Building Department on weekends. So if a problem occurs on a weekend, there is no immediate recourse for residents. 
 
For example, this past weekend, there was an issue in Battle Hill involving illegal construction at a home with a Stop-Work order that was issued. On Sunday, December 6, the contractor or workers removed the Stop-Work order notice from the premises and began working illegally at 9am. The  police were notified but, unfortunately, our Public Safety Dept had received no communication from the Building Department regarding Stop-Work orders in our neighborhood. The Public Safety Community Coordinator, Lt. Spencer, has said this was a Building Department issue and he could not act.

The Battle Hill Association and I personally wish to thank you (Mayor) for caring and acting immediately to shut down this illegal activity and serious quality-of-life concern.
 
In summary, there is a need to revisit and update several of our Building Department ordinances and practices and enhance interdepartmental communications necessary for improving the quiet time and overall quality-of-life issues that affect our neighborhoods every day.
 
We look forward to these revisions and changes in the upcoming year. BHA is willing to assist in any way to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods.
 
Again, thank you, Mr. Mayor, for your quick response and action this weekend. 
 
 
Patty Craft-Cantu and the Battle Hill Association 

 

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