Thursday, September 13, 2012

Astoria developer is killing the American Dream

I've had my eye on this one since it was a massive hole in the ground. Kudos to Eyewitness News for shining a light on the mess. - QC

From Eyewitness News:

They are hard-working families who thought they'd found their little piece of the American dream on this block in Astoria, Queens.

"This is where we plan to raise our family and make a home and now we're in jeopardy of losing our home," one woman said.

These homeowners claim their houses are slowly being ripped apart by a massive 8-story office building under construction on 31st Street. You can see it sticking up out of the skyline from miles away.

"You look up and see that spike. It's just an eyesore," John said.

The residents say they had no warning that such a massive hi-rise was being built, and certainly not right up against their backyards.

Home video shows workers dumping dirt out of the building's windows to fill up gaps in the foundation because there wasn't enough room to get to the back from the ground. And residents say tools regularly fall into their backyards from the upper floors.

The above is a typical example of the DOB just rubberstamping building plans. We all know by now about the community facilities loophole, where developers claim that they are building medical offices or a day care center (even though they have no intention of doing that), which in turn allows them to double their floor area ratio and build monstrosities "as of right." But how can the DOB justify approving plans that call for 100% lot coverage AND a 20-foot rear yard? Logically, it can only be one or the other. But in magical DOB land, you can apparently have both somehow!

Why exactly is Peter Vallone "mediating" between the affected parties instead of legislating the closure of the community facilities loophole that destroys communities, including one a block from his office?


Anonymous said...

Because the Vallone family has been a lobbyist
and legal representative for developers for decades.

Who do you think they have gotten their campaign contributions from?

Look up their record for yourselves.


Anonymous said...

Purchasers of homes need to wise up.

BEFORE you even think of buying in a particular sure to CHECK the zoning map.

What you intend on buying might be a one family home.

If the map indicates that it is zoned for higher density than 1 or 2 family houses...
then you're screwed from the get-go!

if construction is going to take place adjacent to your sure that you purchase additional homeowners insurance that specifically covers you for construction damages.

Believe me....I speak from experience.

it's a lot cheaper to do this than to hire a lawyer to sue the developer for damages afterwards!

Anonymous said...

Don't blame the developer for this problem. I understand the issues that this building has created for the homeowners. But the building is probably legal. The blame should be on our elected officials. The area is zoned for this type of building and the zoning laws need to be changed. Our politicians play a good game but they need to do there job and protect our communities. Laws need to be changed and if out elected officials don’t sponsor or support these changes, we have to get rid of them.
Wake up people

Anonymous said...

I thought Astoria was 'saved' by the rezoning.

A lot of their problems are self imposed in that community - no organization (unless officially sanctioned), no leadership (unless officially sanctioned) - its run by a family and their cult - it NYC's answer to North Korea.

A think about this nugget Queens - they might be in the borough president's 'palace' because the developers have loaded their war chest with millions.

Anonymous said...

Who do you think they have gotten their campaign contributions from?

Look up their record for yourselves.
Just curious, because I am not up on such things, but could someone tell me where I could look these things up? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Vallone is a certified asshole. We need a law stating that if a new development destroys nearby homes, the developer needs to buy out those owners for 10 times the value of their homes. if that was law, I suspect this sort of thing would stop being an issue.

Richard Alexander said...

Why doesn't the homeowner just build their own gigantic building and get rich? Hell it costs like $300 sq ft to build but idoits pay twicw that for 'luxury' condos (luxury being defined as having $10k worth of granite, cabinets, and appliances)...?

Anonymous said...

For those who said that they were not aware of the buildings size...they get letters prior to the start of excavation also the DOB has made it pretty easy for the public to look at the development. For example:

Anonymous said...

They get letters prior to the excavation. It doesn't say what is being built there, just that there will be a big hole in the ground. And when you have a site as large as this one, finding the correct address to look up can be a challenge.

Queens Crapper said...

It's not the zoning that's the problem in this case. It's the loopholes to the zoning. Vallone needs to fix this, but he won't.