A noise complaint regarding the HVAC systems of Bagel Hut, located at 503 Middle Neck Road, was aired during the Village of Great Neck’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night.
Dr. Carl Abraham said he and other Baker Hill Road residents, along with some on Berkshire Road and Margot Place – all located behind the store and the rear HVAC systems – have been dealing with the excessive noise for years. Abraham said the noise has made bringing any guests over into the backyard a major problem.
“It’s so noisy in the afternoon, it’s like a train running through endlessly on a continuous basis,” Abraham said. “We’re all experiencing this for many, many years… The noise is loud. It is unfair to all of us.”
Abraham said a certified sound level meter measured the HVAC noise close to 60 decibels, which would exceed a limit of 35 decibels as outlined in a 1999 notice of violation for a neighboring property at 505-507 Middle Neck Road.
According to a subsection of the village code, “Any other noise of such character, intensity, and duration as to be detrimental to the life or health of any reasonable person of normal sensitivities or contrary to the public welfare is prohibited.”
Abraham claimed the HVAC systems, located on the rear first floor of the building, were installed improperly and without the necessary certifications. The only way to fix the problem, he said, would be for the village to require that the HVAC systems be removed and installed correctly, rather than fines and penalties.
“They ignore the violations, they ignore the warnings. They don’t care, they’d rather pay the fines,” he said. “A fine is not what we’re looking for. What we’re looking for is a correction so that we can live with some peace without any noise whatsoever.”
Stephen Haramis, the superintendent of the village’s Building Department, said that he previously spoke to the owner of the store and explained to him that someone needed to go out and remedy the noise or the systems would have to be moved. The owner, he said, said it would be done, but nothing has been resolved since.
Haramis said notices of violations were previously submitted followed by a summons sent to Bagel Hut for an Aug. 11 court date. Haramis also mentioned that it is unclear if the HVAC systems were installed without proper certifications.
Village Attorney Peter Bee said if the structure required a permit or certificate and does not have it along with not responding to the court summonses, the board could take action and permit Bee to seek an injunction to rectify the matter.
“The potential remedy is an action for an injunction against the owner requiring him to remedy the violation rather than merely punish him for allowing it to continue,” Bee said.
Abraham said he believes that would be the best course of action but acknowledged that he and other residents want the situation to be rectified without harming the business.
“They’re nice people, I don’t want to do anything to hurt them,” Abraham said. “I have a nice backyard, I have everything I need back there and I can’t use it. We can’t sit back there and people next to me are constantly complaining.”
“I think this has been going on a little too long,” Mayor Pedram Bral said. “As far as power goes, with the new [HVA] machines… it’s a lot more efficient.”
Efforts to reach Bagel Hut and its owner Steven Menist, for comment on the matter were unavailing.