The Village of Great Neck Plaza has passed a strict new crane law, a law that, according to Plaza Mayor Bob Rosegarten, is ''the most progressive piece of legislation in New York regarding cranes.'' This law is possibly the most stringent such law in the nation. In New York State, only New York City has such a law, and that legislation is reportedly not as restrictive as the one voted into law in the Plaza on April 22.
The legislation came in response to concern regarding two recent crane accidents, occurring in less than two weeks, at a 96 Cuttermill Road construction site, the home of the new Mayfair Senior Living residence. First, a crane toppled on March 9, falling across a storage and moving company warehouse, narrowly missing two houses. Then, on March 18, a crane caught a LILCO wire, snapped the line, blew transformers, and caught fire.
According to Plaza Public Works Commissioner Harry Perlman, in the first accident, a high wind tipped the crane backwards. In the second accident, he reported that the operator lost the boom. Mayor Rosegarten called for Mr. Perlman to come up with some informal crane rules after the first accident, but when the second accident quickly followed, the mayor called for more formal, very stringent legislation.
A draft of the new legislation was proposed at the board's April 1 meeting, but the law was not passed then, pending a few changes. However, in the interim, the village insisted that crane use at current construction sites follow the guidelines and restrictions set forth in the draft of the proposed law. Both the 96 Cuttermill Road building site and the building site at 51 Great Neck Road formally agreed to follow the guidelines stated in the draft. These two construction sites, and any future building in the village, will now be obliged to abide by the new crane law.
According to Mayor Rosegarten, ''Andy Belfer (Belfer Realty and Development, developers of 96 Cuttermill Road) has been extremely conscientious and involved. He was extremely responsive to our concerns and to our new legislation.''
This law, which regulates the maintenance, operation, and deployment of cranes within the Village of Great Neck Plaza, requires the applicant to obtain a permit from the village, once all of the documents are approved. The fee for the permit is to be $500.
The law requires that, before a crane is deployed, certain documentation must be presented to the village (including a certificate from the Department of Buildings of the City of New York; specific certifications for crane set-up, operation, and stability of the earth, from licensed professional engineers; and stated amounts of insurance under a policy that names the village as an additional insured and holds the village harmless from liability).
Additionally, the draft was changed to include that, in specific cases, the village can hire an outside licensed professional engineer, and the applicant may be required to reimburse the village for such services.
Actual crane operations will be regulated under the law. A qualified crane inspector, acceptable to the village and working with the engineer, will inspect the crane, as well as observe and supervise all crane operations at all times. Cranes are to be inspected at the start of each workday and after each break. During each shutdown, the crane is to be properly secured. If the inspector or the engineer feel that the crane is not in a safe condition or is being operated in an unsafe manner, work will be halted. At all times, the engineer or the inspector will maintain available logs.
Added since the first draft is a requirement that, after the initial deployment of a crane on a project site, if there is any continuous period of three or more days (exclusive of Sundays and holidays) during which the crane is shut down or not in operation, a licensed professional engineer or a qualified crane operator must make a physical inspection. Such an inspection will also be required before and after any adverse weather conditions that might affect the safety of the crane.
Also added, regarding operations, is again the clause that, in specific cases, the village can hire an outside licensed professional engineer, and the applicant may be required to reimburse the village for such services.
At the meeting, Mr. Perlman was granted a request to have flashing lights added to the top of cranes over 100 feet high. He explained that the police had informally requested the lights at the two current construction sites, fearing that helicopters out on a search at night could fly into a high crane.
The hours of crane operation will correspond to construction hours---8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. All work, including crane operation, is prohibited on Sundays and on holidays.
In addition, the new law will require village approval of professional engineers and crane inspectors. And violations, penalties, and stop work orders are also addressed. A penalty is ''not to exceed $250 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days or both.''
The law was unanimously approved.