BY MADELINE NELSON
According to a new report released by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, noise complaints in New York City almost doubled between 2010 and 2015, and such gripes logged in Queens rose in every category of the study.
The 48-page report maps and explains noise trends from six years’ worth of 311 complaints and complaints received by other government organizations across the five boroughs.
Out of all 59 Community Districts in the city, Community District 11 in Queens had the least amount of noise complaints per year, averaging 10 complaints per 1,000 adults.
The largest amount of complaints in Queens came from Community District 8. This includes Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Holliswood, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok and Utopia. According to the 2010 census, 151,100 people live in the district, but the population is now estimated to be 160,000. The noise complaints in Queens were mostly air traffic and alarm-related.
In 2015, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) received 32,238 complaints about John F. Kennedy International Airport’s air traffic from 1,107 households and 18,694 complaints about LaGuardia Airport from 1,442 households. Respondents from Queens were twice as likely to report disturbances by air traffic than those from other boroughs.
The OSC Noise Survey found that 32 percent of all the complainants surveyed were bothered by air traffic noise. Survey respondents felt that their complaints had no impact.
Sirens and alarms make up the majority of noise complaints. District 8 complained the most about the alarms, with a rate of nine complaints per 1,000 adults in 2015. Most other districts that did complain in 2015 had rates between zero and one per 1,000.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and NYPD handle alarm complaints, but 311 alone received almost 12,000 alarm-related complaints. About 3,000 noise complaints were canceled or considered duplicates. Only 23 complaints were confirmed by the DEP, according to the report.
“Noise in New York City is a significant quality of life and public health concern … The city has a model noise code and should be commended for taking steps to better enforce local law, but there is more that city agencies can do to control noise disruptions,” DiNapoli said. “We hope our reports on noise provide useful information that enables city and state agencies to improve the quality of life for residents of the five boroughs.”