Memorandum of Opposition to Intro 1653-A

M E M O R A N D U M  O F  O P P O S I T I O N


BILL:                1653-A

SUBJECT:        A Local Law to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to noise complaints.

SPONSORS:    Ben Kallos, Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Rosie Mendez, Carlos Menchaca

DATE:              September 25, 2017

REBNY represents over 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City.  We support the overall goals of this bill to ensure lawful compliance noise mitigation plans and amicably resolve noise complaints; however, section 5 of the bill in regard to After Hours Variances (AHVs) are particularly concerning.

AHVs allow construction work to proceed before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekdays and/or on Saturdays and/or Sundays subject to certain conditions.  By law, AVHs are granted in very specific circumstances that pertain to emergency work, public safety, city construction work, activities with minimal noise impact or projects that pose an undue hardship.

The bill would revoke the AVH permit in instances where “there is full compliance with the noise mitigation plan yet nevertheless aggregate sound levels from the site where an after hours authorization is in effect exceeded.”  (Emphasis added.)  However, the sound levels proposed by the bill is 75dB(A) can be experienced on any city street at any given time.  A barking dog[1] or a busy commercial area[2] are examples of sound at 70dB(A) to 75dB(A).  Hazardous noise is considered at levels of 85dB(A) and above.[3]  Moreover the bill’s requirement that the level be measured from a “sensitive receptor of a dwelling unit” does not indicate where or how far the receptor or unit is in relation to the noise generator.


Finally, the revocation of the AVH permit from an otherwise compliant permit holder is a severe penalty for what could be corrected with the consultation of the permit holder’s construction team, noise consultants and relevant City personnel.  Revocation is also an especially undue penalty given that the nature of AVH work is so strictly limited to special circumstances relating to emergency and public safety work.


[1]  New England Hearing Instruments, Inc., Accessed September 25, 2017.

[2]  St Louis Lambert International Airport, Comparison of Noise Levels,, Accessed September 25, 2017.

[3] National Ag Safety Database,  They’re Your Ears – Protect Them,, Accessed September 25, 2017.