Mineola, NY

The Truth is Out There – WAY Out There ! !

SATURDAY MORNING WAKE-UP CALL


“Six o’clock already? I was just in the middle of a dream!  I was kissing Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream . . .”     Manic Monday (The Bangles)

At least I was.  Until somebody cranked up that jack hammer at 7:20 in the morning on Saturday, January 19, 2013.

Not that I’m complaining.

But I am.

I listened to this cacophony for an hour before I took my camera and went out in the cold to track down where the noise was coming from.  I didn’t have to go far because it was coming from behind the Brasa Rodizio restaurant located at 100 Herricks Road.  I began taking photos, and the supervisor of the crew came over.  When I asked why he started jack hammering so early on a Saturday morning he answered “This is a commercial property.”  Then I pointed out the residences just behind him and again asked why it was necessary to start SO early.  That’s when he indicated he wanted to get the work done before the restaurant opened.  I asked if he had a permit, and he said he did.  I asked to see it.  That’s when he said he didn’t have it on him, that the “owner” had it.  I don’t know if he meant the owner of the building, the owner of the restaurant, or the owner of S & J Landscaping and Construction which was the firm doing the work.  No matter.  Noise is noise.

You see, my house is 350 feet away from where these individuals were working.  And I heard it.  My neighbors who live behind me on Beebe Road heard it and their house is 500 feet away.  That means it was heard in the Richlee Court complex and, since it was a clear, cold, otherwise quiet morning, the sound probably reverberated as far as 13th Avenue on the south side of the LIRR tracks.  Of course, those folks are used to sleep disturbances considering how many years they had to put up with the noise pollution emitted from the Verizon building on that little strip of land that somehow belongs to the Village of Garden City.  That lawsuit has dragged on for 3 years now.  But I digress.

I returned home to research the Village of Mineola’s Code to see how our regulations address allowable construction times and construction-related noise.

They don’t.

I then began to consult the codes of all the villages along the Jericho Turnpike corridor from the Queens border to Westbury, as well as the codes of the Towns of  Hempstead and North Hempstead.  I also dug into the Rules of the City of New York.  Every municipality I looked at has a chapter in their code that is dedicated to Noise.  What’s more, every one addresses construction-related  noise and stipulates days and hours when construction may take place.

Mineola’s code, in contrast, has  NO CONSOLIDATED  regulations for noise.  Chapter 192Animals – addresses noisy animals in general (barking, whining dogs in particular), in Article II, §10.  Next, we jump to Chapter 230Business Licenses – where the Code stipulates that professional landscapers may not operate power or manual gardening equipment after 8 pm or before 8 am without written permission from the Board.  Finally, we come to Chapter 376Peace & Good Order.  Article II, §9 is titled Disturbing the Peace.  It’s very broad and generalized but was the only citation I could find that was in any way applicable for me to file a written complaint with the Building Department.  (Spoiler alert:  we also have a restriction against noise from vehicles and motorcycles.)

Let’s analyze the numbers.  Of the NINE municipal codes I researched, 3 out of the 6 villages, both Towns, and the City of New York DO NOT PERMIT CONSTRUCTION ON WEEKENDS.  If public safety is at risk, special permits must be obtained to do work on a Saturday or Sunday.  The other three villages do allow construction on Saturdays as well as weekdays as a matter of routine.  In New York City, an “after hours” permit to work on the weekends can be obtained without the pre-requisite of a public health/safety issue, but you’ll pay through the teeth.  And let’s face it, people don’t move to the city in search of peace and quiet, but if a contractor wants to disturb people on their weekends, that contractor had better be ready to ante-up.

As for construction hours, IN ALL CASES SAVE ONE, the earliest time construction may commence is 7 a.m. and that is during the week only.  The one exception is the Village of New Hyde Park which does permit construction to commence at 7 am on Saturdays as well.  (Pardon my editorializing VNHP, but REALLY???)  The other two villages that permit construction on Saturdays restrict the start time to 8 a.m. and stipulate an end time by 7 p.m.

The Village of Mineola must establish regulations to deal with construction noise so both residents and contractors know what the ground rules are.  And residents need to know who to contact when a violation is being committed so a summons can be issued right away.  In my ideal world, construction wouldn’t be permitted on weekends.  It remains to be seen if the other VOM residents agree.  But I urge the Board members, who are all Village residents and taxpayers themselves, to give this matter the serious consideration it deserves.  Mineola is the County Seat of Nassau yet it entertains a hodge-podge of a code that doesn’t properly address one of the major causes of stress and pollution we as a society face.  N-O-I-S-E.  Escaping it is one of the main reasons people move to places like this.

For anyone who’s interested, I’m providing the spread-sheet I compiled that breaks down those portions of the codes of the Villages of Bellerose, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Williston Park and Westbury, as well as the Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead and the City of New York, that deal with noise.  (It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re sleep-deprived.)  Click here:  NOISE CODE COMPS

BTW – I did file a complaint with our Department of Buildings citing violation of Chapter 376, Article II, §9 for this auditory assault against my somnolence.  Las Vegas bookies post my odds of getting a response at slim to none.  I’m waiting for somebody to prove them wrong.

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February 17, 2013 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Mineola NY, Nassau County | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments