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N E I G H B O R S   A S S O C I A T I O N   ( L I N A )

r e s o u r c e s  (cont'd)

New York City is famous for its garbage problems; Little Italy is not exempt from them. But local residents shouldn't resign themselves to the recurring sight of overflowing garbage cans, loose refuse, and scattered trash.

Under section 16-119 of the NYC Administrative Code, the dumping of garbage or other rubbish, dirt, debris, etc. is illegal. People found guilty of dumping face extremely high fines: from $1,500 up to $40,000. Not only that, but to encourage enforcement of the anti-dumping rules, people who witness illegal dumping and report it to the Sanitation Police are eligible for substantial rewards: 50 percent of the amount collected in fines. The Sanitation Department has established a couple of illegal dumping programs by which members of the public are paid for reporting illegal dumping, one in which the witness must sign an affidavit and appear at a hearing, and one in which the witness' identity remains confidential.

You can obtain free Citizen Complaint Forms from the Sanitation Action Center, tel (212)219-8090. To resolve other garbage issues, you can contact the NYC Department of Sanitation, 125 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013.

Remember, recycling is the law in NYC. City trucks pick up sorted garbage for recycling in Little Italy every Wednesday morning. The Sanitation Department has detailed rules on what and how to recycle.

Curious about where your garbage goes? Or about how the mess got started?

The city's Noise Code bans "unreasonable noise." Unreasonable noise is defined as "any excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivies or injures or endangers the health or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivies or which causes injury to plant or animal life, or damage to property or business."

The city's noise rules are most restrictive regarding noise made at night, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. They also require that most construction work be carried out only on weekdays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The Bureau of Air, Noise & Hazardous Materials of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the city's noise code. It enforces the rules governing commercial and industrial noise, but does not cover noise from residences or mobile sources such as car alarms. You can make a noise complaint to the DEP's 24-hour help center, at (718)337-4357, and the DEP will send out an inspector to take a decibel reading from your apartment. The noise shouldn't be more than 45 decibels with your windows open.

Noise compliants may also be made to the police (who will accept complaints about noisy neighbors, car alarms, and other problems not covered by the DEP). Their general noise complaint number is (888)677-5433.

Noisy bars and restaurants have become an increasing problem in the area. One way to fight the noise is to oppose the renewal of the noisy establishment's liquor license. Liquor licenses come up for renewal every three years. A bar's record of complaints and violations will be taken into consideration by the State Liquor Authority (SLA) when it reviews the renewal application.

The SLA has downtown Manhattan offices at 11 Park Place, 7th floor, New York, NY 10007. (11 Park Place is between Broadway & Church Streets.) Letters describing the noise problem — which should be as specific as possible — should go be sent to the above address to the attention of Fred Gioffre, Deputy Commissioner for Licensing, New York State Liquor Authority. Copies should be sent to Community Board 2, which keeps records of all such complaints.

When submitting WRITTEN testimony to the SLA regarding an item on its agenda, you must submit nine (9) copies of the testimony by noon on the Monday prior to the hearing date. The testimony must be submitted to the Secretary's office (Roberta Hiller, Secretary to the Authority) at 11 Park Place. If you have any questions about this procedure, call the Secretary's office at (212)417-4202.

Bars that host dancing or live music without a cabaret license are also subject to fines. Complaints on this should be made to the Department of Consumer Affairs. Jules Polotnetsky is the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Hector Serrano is the Director of Enforcement; they can be reached at (212)487-4306 or 487-4444.

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