Councilman Jimmy Vacca has gotten a city agency to go along with his proposal that could spell relief and some advance notification for neighborhoods facing major city construction projects.
After speaking with the DDC commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, Vacca was able to convince the agency to add an additional 48-hours to the already 24-hour notification the department provides to local community and businesses.
“At the suggestion of Council Member Vacca, effective immediately citywide, DDC will provide 72-hour advance notice of water shutoffs, roadway or driveway restrictions, or other community impacts resulting from our infrastructure construction projects,” said Peña-Mora. “We will then issue another 24-hour notice to confirm the time and exact location where the work will occur.
The commissioner called it “a priority for me and for our agency to be good neighbors in every neighborhood where we are working, and to minimize the disruptions that infrastructure construction projects create for residents and businesses.”
“The 72-hour notice will be distributed via e-mail to residents, businesses, elected officials, community boards, and other stakeholders,” said the commissioner, who thanked Vacca for working with him to better notify the public about construction improvements and minimizing inconveniences.
“For the 24-hour notice, we will send similar e-mail notices, but also go door-to-door (as was our previous practice) to inform residents and businesses of the upcoming work,” he added. Vacca had proposed a bill in May that proposed many of the same remedies that the city agency agreed to initiate.
“Rather than wait for the bill to become law, the administration was agreeable to do that right away,” said Vacca, adding that the idea for a 72-hour notification rose out of complaints from the Country Club sewer reconstruction project in his district.
“The primary goal must always be to limit disruption to the local community,” he said.
Vacca had help writing the bill from local attorney, former legislative aide and Country Club Civic Association board member Frank Vernuccio.
Vernuccio had said that, in the past, oftentimes who to contact in case of an emergency would not be clear.
“Frequently, this can happen on the weekend,” he had said before DDC’s action. “If sometime goes wrong, like a repair that is half-done causing a water-main break or an electrical disruption, there is really no easy way to know who to call or who is responsible.”