DOB's Plan to Allow a Commercial Building Access over an Existing Gas Facility Imperils Residents’ Safety
(If you're interested in seeing what this property looked like before, click here.)
In a plan that would strip the residents of this Jamaica, Queens neighborhood use of their park, the Department of Buildings (DOB) has given approval to a new commercial building to have it for a driveway, and this over an existing National Grid underground Gas Facility. It is a move that has both residents and Community Leaders unanimous in their disapproval for various reasons:
· Allowing commercial activities over such a sensitive public utility facility is an accident waiting to happen and the lives at stake would be the residents and their children
· Converting the use of a public park that benefited residents to one that only benefits a private entity, and that, for commercial purposes shows a lack of consideration to residents already underserved by the availability of such open spaces and parks
· The linking of these two new stores to this wholly residential short block (of about 15 houses) is bound to overwhelm existing infrastructure with the ensuing commercial activities in a way that would negatively impact the quality of life of the residents
Accordingly, the residents and their community leaders are planning a protest rally for Wednesday April 20th, 2011 @ 5:00 PM in front of the construction site at the corner of 110th Avenue and Sutphin Blvd in Jamaica, Queens.
Your presence to help the residents make their opposition known and their voices heard in a way that the DOB cannot continue to ignore would be greatly appreciated.
For more information, kindly contact Mr. Felix Ogunkya, the point-person for the residents @: (917)723-6500.
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Felix Ogunkya
Sent: Fri, April 8, 2011 6:12:36 PM
Subject: Photos of Some of the Problems Encountered With 110-10 Sutphin's Contruction
Thank you for your call this morning. I apologize for the delay in getting this out to you: it got a little hectic at work for me to get it done within the time promised.
I was unable to reach Ms. Reddick because I understand that she was, sadly, in an auto accident just yesterday and will be out for a few weeks while recovering.
However, I have attached some photos in support of my earlier claim that this building was constructed from the beginning with many glaring violations without any serious consequences from the DOB (in spite of the added voice of then Councilman Tony Avella, whose letters I have attached as proof of why there is now so much frustration and skepticism on the part of residents as to the fairness of the DOB in the way they have handled this construction from the beginning till now).
For more than two years; being right next to this site, I especially have been dragged through hell as the pictures attached would show: my fence was removed without my permission, cars parked inside my driveway were damaged by falling mortar, bricks, and sawed rafter pieces and dust, as was my driveway and the shrubs around my property, all because the required protective fence was never—not even once—put in place between the construction site and my property until the building was completed. For close to a year starting from the beginning of 2009, my family and I were essentially living in a construction site with all the dangers inherent in that even though I regularly notified the parties I was supposed to asking for urgently needed help, all to no avail.
This is one of the reasons the residents of my block are now having difficulties accepting that the approval now gotten by the owner of this commercial building to link up to our street over an existing Gas Facility is the fair and/or correct adjudication on the part of the DOB and one that has taken the safety of the residents of the block into consideration: they were all witnesses to how the DOB stood by and watched this same person violate my property right and personal safety by permitting him to continue work without the required safety measures. How are we now to believe that we are not witnessing the same thing all over again, only this time, in a context that affects the whole block by allowing him access over a Gas Facility on a piece of property that used to be a park for the neighborhood?
The property on which the Gas facility exists is public land which is why National Grid was allowed to use it. For the residents, it used to be the only open public space for many blocks and one that they could enjoy without let. Preserving the use of a property like this only for a private entity and that, for commercial activity, without a single input from the residents affected demonstrates little consideration for us and our quality of life that is bound to be seriously impacted by this plan.
As proof of the seriousness with which we as residents of the block view this, I am attaching a list showing the names and signatures of the residents as they join as one in opposition and their individual reasons why...
We appreciate the review you promised and hope it takes into consideration some of our concerns as expressed here. I look forward to speaking with you again, sir, and thank you for your time.