Please see the following message from our neighborhood’s PYMIG liaison, Steve Crime. The PDF that Steve refers to can be found here: PG LOD
“PYMIG Update for the Pre-Construction Home Surveys, 7/30/2019
Last week a resident contacted me because she had a privacy concern about the data gathered during the upcoming pre-construction surveys. The builders’ point-of-contact for the subcontractor conducting the surveys told her that the results of the surveys (notes and interior photos) would be provided to WMATA and the City. Third parties could then access the results via FOIA requests. I called the builders’ point-of-contact on Monday, and he relayed the same information to me. However, what he was saying did not make sense, so I investigated further. It became apparent that the assertions of the builders’ point-of-contact are NOT correct.
1. The attached PDF shows the outline of the area of homes that are eligible for a pre-construction survey.
2. WMATA, not the City, awarded the contract to build the Metro station. I contacted City staff and they said that the City would NOT receive pre-construction survey information. Therefore, the City cannot be subject to a FOIA request for information they do not hold.
3. I then contacted the WMATA project manager, Fred Robertson, to determine how the subcontractor, builders and WMATA would handle the results of the pre-construction surveys. He confirmed that the City would not be involved with or receive any information related to the surveys. The subcontractor (Terracon Consulting) would retain the survey results. It will NOT forward any results to WMATA. If a homeowner files a claim for damages at the end of the project, the survey results for that address would be forwarded to the builders for resolution. Lastly, from my research, there are nine types of information exempt from a FOIA request. Exemption six states this would include: “Information that, if disclosed, would invade another individual’s personal privacy.”
The full text of my message to Fred Robertson and his response follow:
Would you mind giving me the contact info (phone & Email) for Jeff Wood? I wanted to ask him a question about the pre-construction surveys of our homes in Potomac Greens.
One of our residents called Moses Koodsi, from Schiavone Construction, with a question about a privacy concern she had related to the surveys. Moses told our resident that upon completion of the surveys, the pictures/notes about individual homes could be obtained by 3rd parties via a FOIA request to WMATA or the City of Alexandria. Moses confirmed that statement when I called him this morning. I don’t think what he is saying is correct.
I spoke with Daphne Kott and she said the City will not receive the survey info so they can’t release what they don’t have. On the Federal side, I think WMATA would be prohibited from releasing that kind of info because it would exempt under FOIA. Specifically, it would fall under Exemption Six: “Information that, if disclosed, would invade another individual’s personal privacy.” I can’t imagine anything more personal than photos of the inside of a person’s home.
I’m trying to find out exactly what WMATA’s position is on such a disclosure. It might be that I need to speak with someone in the office of WMATA’s General Counsel. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Steve – Thanks for reaching out to obtain clarity on this process.
The City of Alexandria is not “involved” in these home surveys.
Regarding the photos taken during the home surveys, WMATA is not receiving any copies of the information gathered via the surveys. While PYC is responsible for having the surveys conducted, they also are not receiving copies of the information gathered via the surveys. Terracon, the company performing the surveys, will be the only company that holds the information gathered during the surveys. Therefore, it will not be able to be obtained via any FOIA requests to the City or by any PARP requests to WMATA.
Should a claim be made against PYC referencing structural damage that the homeowner believes is attributable to the construction of the Station, then PYC will request Terracon produce the information gathered on that address for evaluation of the claim.
That is the extent of the use and exposure of the information gathered during these surveys.
Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Fred Robertson III – PE, PMP, LEED AP BD+C