Since the end of 2016, St. Jean and his neighbors, who live near LaGuardia Airport and the Grand Central Parkway, have been dealing with constant noise, vibrations and damage to their homes from ongoing construction.
Last Friday, St. Jean and fellow members of the Ditmars Boulevard Block Association spoke about the frustrating situation they’ve been dealing with.
“It’s been very painful, very annoying,” said St. Jean, who has lived in his Ditmars Boulevard home for a decade. “A lack of respect from the construction and a lack of compassion.”
Everyday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., neighbors say they endure the loud banging of construction at LaGuardia Airport. St. Jean’s wife works nights, and has trouble sleeping during the day because of the noise.
“When she comes home and this is going on, she’s unable to sleep,” he said. “And she has a very stressful job.”
In addition to the noise, St. Jean said the driving of piles has generated vibrations that reach homes across the highway. He pointed to several cracks in the walls at different floors of his home, as well as a damaged backyard gate, as examples of its impact.
His fear is that the cracks will ultimately damage the foundation of the house and devalue the property.
“Not only are you getting air, you’re getting water in the walls,” St. Jean said. “Once the water hits the cracks, it spreads it more.”
The East Elmhurst homeowner said he reached out to a contractor to measure the cost of repairs. St. Jean said it would cost up to $54,000 to complete the work.
But according to St. Jean, a project manager from the LaGuardia construction only offered $20,000 to fix the damage. The homeowner said he felt they were “patronizing.”
Ultimately, St. Jean said he wants the Port Authority to “find a better way to do the driving,” including putting up barriers to block out the noise.
The Port Authority responded that 11 homeowners, including five on Ditmars Boulevard, requested inspections in response to damage complaints. Nine homes along the boulevard have noise and vibration monitors, the agency said.
The authority has already communicated engineering visit options through elected officials, community board meetings and civic and block association meetings.
“Extensive, ongoing community engagement is critical to the success of all of our projects, from connecting hundreds of Queens residents with job opportunities to listening to, and acting on, their concerns,” the Port Authority said in a statement. “The Port Authority is taking all necessary steps to minimize impact on the surrounding communities during the transformation of LaGuardia into a world-class airport.
“Any homeowner in the communities surrounding the airport who believes their home has been damaged by on-airport construction can request an engineer visit,” the statement continued. “Based on the engineer’s inspection, if it is determined the damage is caused by on-airport construction, we will work with the homeowner to compensate them for repairs.”