Council considers new bill to limit residential noise
by Stephen Geffon
Jul 06, 2011 | 844 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stereo equipment and bicycle confiscated during a weekend noise abatement operation by 106th Precinct officers.
Stereo equipment and bicycle confiscated during a weekend noise abatement operation by 106th Precinct officers.
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The City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee held a hearing last week on a bill proposed by Councilman Eric Ulrich to strengthen the city’s noise code.

If enacted, the bill would make it easier for the NYPD to issue tickets and confiscate sound equipment when dealing with residential noise disturbances, which continue to be the number one quality of life complaint among residents in Ulrich's south Queens district.

The hearing, which was held to gather testimony and feedback on the proposed law, included testimony from several council members regarding excessive noise in their respected districts.

In addition, civic leaders testified in person about the need to strengthen the noise code, and several community organizations submitted written statements.

“Unlike other quality of life issues, excessive noise infiltrates homes and impacts people on a very personal level," said Ulrich. "This bill will give the NYPD the tools and resources it needs to ensure a reasonable level of peace and quiet in residential neighborhoods.”

Queens Community Board 10 chair Betty Braton testified at the hearing, stating that excessive noise continues to be the leading NYPD-related quality of life complaint made by residents.

“Our residents have been complaining vociferously about inordinate noise for more than a decade," she said.

Margaret Finnerty, president of the Richmond Hill South Civic Association, agreed.

“The noise complaints have increased over the past ten years," she said. "There must be stronger laws passed and enforced so that people may enjoy their homes free of inordinate noise from their neighbors.”

Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association president Edward Wendell in written testimony submitted to the committee said that the single most frequent complaint that the residents of Woodhaven make to the WRBA is about noise.

“This has been the case for years,” he said. “The quality of life in Woodhaven has been severely diminished due to residential noise abuse. The residents are past the point of being frustrated and well into the phase of discouragement.”

The bill would increase fines to between $250 and $1,000 for the first offense. A second violation within 72 hours, even if a warning was given the first time, can result in fines of between $500 and $2,000.

At that point, the individual would be considered a willful violator, and the sound device can be seized by the police.

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