Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00
Following this summer’s apartment building roof collapse, and the subsequent discovery of compromised safety issues at the complex as well as at other such apartment complexes, the Village of Great Neck adopted new legislation intended to improve the safety of multi-family buildings in the village. The new law was adopted at the village’s Aug. 29 board of trustees meeting.
The new legislation requires that multi-family buildings in the Village of Great Neck be inspected by a licensed and insured architect or engineer and that subsequent reports must be submitted to the village within three months and every five years thereafter. Additionally, the law provides that unsafe conditions, even if discovered independent of an inspection, must be reported to the village, with corrective work begun immediately.
“The safety of our residents and the public is our top priority,” said Mayor Ralph J. Kreitzman. “The village is taking precautionary measures to prevent unsafe conditions that may exist in any of our multi-family buildings to avoid risk to residents, their property and the public. We hope to discover and have cured hidden problems before anyone is hurt by them.”
Mayor Kreitzman and the board of trustees developed the new legislation following the roof collapse on July 30 at 221 Middle Neck Road.
The village’s new legislation in response to this roof collapse has precedence elsewhere, including New York City and the Village of Great Neck Plaza. New York City adopted a new law about 20 years ago when materials fell off a building façade and killed a pedestrian. The city now requires periodic façade inspections. Mayor Kreitzman had previously told the Great Neck Record that the concept of the village’s new law was modeled after that New York City law.
Also, several years ago the Village of Great Neck Plaza responded to an accident with new legislation, too. When a crane fell at a building site in the Plaza, then-mayor Bob Rosegarten, immediately called for a “crane law.” Legislation was discussed, but when a second crane fell only days later, the mayor pushed through emergency legislation.
The Village of Great Neck decided not to wait for the legislation to be passed, however, and had required other inspections immediately following the roof collapse. After reviewing building files, as early as the same day as the accident, the village discovered other buildings that were designed by the same architect in the 1950s and immediately had the building owner hire an architect to inspect those roofs.
The Village of Great Neck is now also considering an amendment to the new law, also addressing building safety. The village attorney has been instructed to draw up an amendment to cover required building safety inspections for most retail and other such commercial buildings within the village.