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Chapin School Ignores Neighbors' Pleas to Limit Late Night Work, Locals Say

By Shaye Weaver | April 29, 2016 4:19pm | Updated on May 2, 2016 8:33am
 The Chapin School will undergo a major expansion starting in June.
The Chapin School will undergo a major expansion starting in June.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

YORKVILLE — Neighbors frustrated by constant noise from construction at the Chapin School tried to halt plans for further late night and weekend work, but their pleas were rejected by school officials.

Residents flooded the school during a public meeting on Tuesday night, demanding that the school refrain from work in the evenings and on Sundays, according to Lisa Paule who helps lead Serene Green, a group of locals who are fighting for quality of life on the block.

"Seven days a week is not acceptable. We just don’t want it," she told DNAinfo New York on Thursday.

Despite the group's opposition during the meeting, it became clear that the school will not change its plans.

A spokeswoman for the school said that the hours that were presented "are those we will be seeking."

The prestigious all-girls private school, which plans to add two stories on top of its eight-story building, told residents that work on the exterior will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, beginning in June.

Work inside the building will carried out from 7 a.m. until as late as needed, though after 9 p.m. noisy work will stop, officials said.

The only activity they say will take place outside after 9 p.m. will be the use of an electric hoist elevator to transport workers and construction materials to the site. That operation will end by 10:30 p.m. at the latest, officials said.

The school applies to the Department of Buildings for after-hours permits to do this work. Since last year, the city granted the school at least 95 after-hours permits for its various renovation projects.

As of now, the school has permission to work 24/7 for the next two weeks in order to complete interior demolition and excavation, according to city records.

"We are working very hard to strike a responsible balance that allows the school to proceed with construction during hours required for safety reasons while also mitigating the effects of this work on our neighbors," the school's spokeswoman said.

"We are sensitive to issues like noise and construction site lighting and will continue to proactively assess opportunities to further reduce disturbances as the project advances."

Residents have previously complained about a plywood construction wall the school installed that blocks one traffic lane on East 84th Street.

The wall will not be removed but school officials said they'll work with the Department of Transportation to put a planter on the sidewalk to bar cars from driving around other vehicles.

But none of these arrangements address the issue of noise, neighbors said. The noise of construction workers hauling steel beams up to the top floors late into the night will be disruptive, despite the school's promises to use a quieter electronic hoist, Paule said.

"It's misleading to contend that this will make a difference when we have the specter of seven days a week. This doesn't give us any let up with the noise," she said. 

"The ease in which variances can be obtained is very disturbing." 

The school will announce the date of its next community meeting shortly, the Chapin School spokeswoman said.