Building Code Watch Groups Are Proposed
BY GRACE RAUH - Staff Reporter of the Sun
August 2, 2007
New York residents soon could be able to keep even closer tabs on construction projects around the city if a proposal to create a citizens watchdog program to report building code violations "wins support from" the Department of Buildings.
A City Council member of Queens, Tony Avella, said the city is in need of volunteers to report violations on construction sites to the department, much like a neighborhood watch program keeping an eye out for crime.
A spokeswoman for the department, Kate Lindquist, said the department looks forward to reviewing the proposal.
Mr. Avella said he envisions a city-wide program that would provide training for volunteers about what he says are common violations: illegal dumping, insufficient safety fencing around construction areas, and construction work taking place at night or early in the morning.
The volunteers and other residents would present violations they witness in an affidavit, which would carry the same weight as a violation witnessed by a city inspector.
"There are some things that even a layman can report," Mr. Avella said. "This would send a very strong message to the unscrupulous developers in this city."
In 2006, Mr. Avella said, he witnessed the illegal demolition of a building in Whitestone, Queens, and reported it to the Department of Buildings. He detailed the activity in an affidavit and the building owner was fined $2,000,
Handcuffs? Did someone say handcuffs?
Uniforms? Understandably, we're thinking chaps with matching vests... and maybe even brightly colored berets all carrying the IMBY Brands label, will be made available to all of our vigilant neighbors at a nominal fee. Who knows maybe IMBY's corporate offices will even sponsor a public lynching or two.
I get the feeling that signing an affidavit won't satisfy the local blood lust. For all your torch and pitchfork needs may we suggest outfitting yourself with Smith & Hawken's English Garden Border Fork . Its easy to grip ergonomic handle is made from sustainably harvested European ash wood. Their Mini Torchiere is currently on sale.