By JAMILLE SUTTON
Seeking to avoid the hazards and construction site deaths New Orleans suffered after Hurricane Katrina, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn proposed legislation Wednesday aimed at protecting homeowners who wish to elevate their homes in the aftermath of Sandy.
“It’s our job in government to protect homeowners seeking to better protect their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” Quinn said, according to a news release.
Quinn, who is running for mayor, said that the City Council wants to take precautions in advance so that home elevations undertaken as part of the recovery can proceed safely.
Quinn said several council members took a trip to New Orleans in January, where they spoke to individuals who helped rebuild after Katrina. There, they were told repeatedly that safeguards needed to be put into place before elevating homes. In Louisiana, home elevation projects have led to shoddy work and fatal accidents.
Council spokesman Justin Goodman said that home elevations have never been done on such a large scale. The council wants to make sure homes are elevated safely and professionally.
“It’s all a pre-emptive attempt to increase safety for everyone, and get the job done correctly,” Goodman said. “We must make sure it’s all done in the right way.”
Eden Goykadosh, 21, of Great Neck, which was hit hard by Sandy, said she admires the fact that the city is seeking to ensure that homes are properly elevated.
“Most homeowners are relatively uninformed regarding safety procedures of elevating homes, as demonstrated by the fact that when they have tried elevating the homes in the past, destruction resulted,” Goykadosh said.
Goykadosh said she believes this issue is a matter of public safety.
Officials said there are four components to the proposed legislation. It requires that construction plans clarify if elevation will be part of a specific project, and that an approved special inspector oversees work. Contractors also must give 48 hours notice prior to elevating, so the Buildings Department can supervise their work.
In addition, the legislation calls for the city Department of Consumer Affairs to offer instruction to the public concerning the kinds of work home improvement contractors can do, and the licenses contractors need to complete each type of work.
“This new legislation will result in both safer homes and construction sites for New Yorkers,” said Quinn.
Photo: Council member James Oddo shows photo of building elevated in New Orleans. NYC Council.