The Real Deal New York

Noisy nights: Complaints spike amid construction boom

Complaints more than doubled to 38K in 2015
September 01, 2017 08:30AM

Night construction

The city’s construction boom hasn’t been kind to sleepless New Yorkers.

The number of noise-related complaints called in to 311 more than doubled to 37,806 in 2015 from just 14,259 in 2010, according to an audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The vast majority of complaints — some 74 percent — were for off-hours work. Not surprisingly, that coincides with an 89 percent increase in “after-hours variances” between 2012 and 2015.

During that three-year period, complaints of late-night work shot up 112 percent.

The audit found the DOB continued to approve after-hours work, despite mounting complaints. At 100 East End Avenue in Yorkville, for example, the agency renewed a variance permitting construction until midnight 24 times — despite 112 noise complaints from a neighbor.

Overall, the DOB approved 99 percent of all variance applications in 2015, rejecting just 431 out of nearly 60,000.

An analysis last year by The Real Deal found the DOB rarely revokes permits, either: Of 59,895 after-hour permits issued in 2015 — about 10,000 more than the prior year – only 18 were revoked.

A spokesman for the DOB said officials agree with many of DiNapoli’s recommendations, including taking complaints into account during the permitting process. The agency said in 2016, it approved just 18,164 of the after-hours permits. “DOB issues after-hours permits primarily when it’s safer or less disruptive to work at night or on the weekend,” the agency said in a statement. [NYP]E.B. Solomont