Memorandum of Opposition to Intro 1389

INTRO NO: 1389

SUBJECT: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to removing construction-related equipment

Summary: Construction-related equipment such as scaffolds, sheds and walkways will be removed after certain periods of observed inactivity

SPONSORS: Kallos, Rodriguez, Koslowitz

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), representing over 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City recognizes that temporary scaffolds, sheds and public walkways often pose inconveniences to the public.  However, this bill will only exacerbate the public’s inconvenience with repeated re-installations of walkways, traffic barriers and other construction-related equipment.

The bill, while well-intentioned, will only prolong construction activity with its requirement to remove sidewalk sheds and other construction-related equipment upon the observed inactivity of a construction site for as little as a few hours. 

REBNY understands that sidewalk sheds are eyesores but they are necessary to protect the public during Local Law 11 façade inspections.  Observed inactivity on those sites could be due for a number of reasons.  Most common are delays in receiving DOB permits or inspections.  DOB will need to be significantly resourced to insure timely plan reviews and inspections to comply with this bill.  In other instances, building owners – most significantly, condos and coops – need to raise funds through self-assessments or market financing to continue or start the work.  Observed inactivity at sites with sidewalk sheds does not necessarily denote that these sites have been forgotten or neglected.  There are often building owners and managers working very hard to address the situation.

 

The bill also imposes immediately and major hazardous violations upon sites that fail to provide barriers, signs or flagperson on sites that are “over, on, or in close proximity to a highway street, or similar public way.”  However, for penalties as severe as an immediately and/or major hazardous violation which could lead to stop work orders, there is no guidance as to the proximity limitations to such highway streets or public ways.  Moreover, the imposition of such equipment or personnel may be contrary to Department of Transportation requirements on certain roadways.  The current practice of DOB approving site safety plans that take into account safety implications of nearby roadways already fulfills the goal that this bill purportedly aims to achieve.

For these reasons, REBNY opposes Int. No. 1389.