Wednesday, December 26, 2012
CB1 sides with developer
From the Queens Chronicle:
Community Board 1 in Astoria recommended the Board of Standards and Appeals allow developers to continue work on a medical facility, which its neighbors say is causing their homes to crumble.
The eight-story building’s backyard at 23-25 31 St. must be rezoned to allow 30 feet of space from the property line instead of the usual 20, before construction can continue.
The Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order in late summer. The structure being developed by Pali Realty had 13 violations and $16,000 in fines. The building now has one violation, according to CB 1.
The board voted for the change, given four stipulations, with 17 members for the variance, nine against and one abstention, which pleased the majority of the 50 individuals in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Get your lawyers,” board member Frances Luhmann-McDonald said, who voted against the variance.
The homeowners whose backyards abut the large facility had hoped for a different result. Nevertheless, they say it won’t change much for now.
“We had a house and we want a house,” 32nd Street resident Robert Draghi said.
He claimed the building workers would push out the downstairs windows to climb into the Draghis’ yard, without permission, during construction.
But now that the building is further along workers can’t climb out the windows because of the way they are installed. Draghis also plans to keep his gate locked.
“They can’t finish the building. It’s not going to happen,” he said, reiterating that without access to his yard, the construction will be stalled.
According to engineer Neil Schmelkin, who conducted a private assessment of Draghi’s house on July 24, it would be more cost affective to rebuild the 60-year-old brick home from scratch rather than repair all major and minor cracks in the foundation, drywall and brickwork.
This may refresh your memory: