Scarsdale Relaxes Permanent Generator Regulations

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The Scarsdale Board of Trustees made some residents happy by making generator laws more lenient. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale Board of Trustees relaxed the rules regarding the installation of permanent emergency generators Tuesday night.

After some areas of the village lost power for nearly two weeks following Hurricane Sandy, there was a push to make generator installation laws more lenient. Discussions about the topic began in 2011, more than a year before the super storm, but the laws weren’t amended until Tuesday.

Previously, generators could only produce a maximum of 55 decibels of noise and had to be installed 20 feet behind houses. Now, generators can create between 66 and 70 decibels while in maintenance mode and can be installed in the rear or side yards, anywhere from three to 20 feet away, depending on the size of the lot.

Ferncliff Road resident Karen Brew said it was important that the board amend the code, arguing that basic needs not noise should be the main concern.

“Everyone already has temporary generators, which are even noisier. We have minimal needs that need to be met, such as cooking, feeding our families and having heat,” she said. “In these situations, where we are without power for extended periods, other needs are important.”

Trustee Robert Harrison attempted to propose an amendment  requiring methods of noise abatement, but did not receive the support of his fellow trustees.

“Residents are concerned about the noise, particularly in smaller properties, and there are noise abatement materials,” he said. “I think noise abatement barriers should be installed on three sides of permanent standby generators.”

During the vote, Trustee Robert Steves stressed the importance of courtesy during stressful times the generators may be used.

“Don’t think that this is going to provide a quiet community in the midst of a storm. There will be noise, but it appears to be the community’s wish to have these generators with the rules we put in place,” he said. “This is a time when the community has to be considerate of its neighbors, about how long they use it, what time they run it and I hope people recognize the rights of their neighbors.”

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