Thank you again for covering and publicizing our fight against Pali Realty, LLC and Yianni Konstantinidis.
Your advocacy and concern, and that of your readers, has meant a lot to my neighbors and I.
- Council Member Peter Vallone did nothing to help us.
- Assemblymember Simotas, though aware of our concerns, did nothing to help.
- Senator Gianaris, also aware of our concerns, did nothing to help.
Senator Tony Avella who, ironically, represents Yianni Konstantinidis' district in Whitestone, was the only elected official in Queens who cared.
He visited our homes and wrote letters to the Board of Standards and Appeals, to the Department of Buildings and to the NYC Department of Investigation.
His efforts, and bills in the NY State Senate, will help to reform the Board of Standards and Appeals.
The process used by the Board of Standards and Appeals is an incredibly flawed one, and it allows developers and architects to manipulate public officials at every single turn. Gerald Caliendo, the project architect and co-chair of the Queens Community Board #1 Zoning and Variance committee, clearly knew about the exhaust vents at the rear of the building he was working on. He was present at the December 18, 2012 meeting.
And he decided to remain silent.
A trusted architect professional in the community consciously decided to stay silent, despite his professional obligation under the American Institute of Architects Code of Ethics not to cause harm to others.
Queens Community Board #1 was snookered and misled into believing that exhaust vents were merely "mechanical equipment". Then, after garnering Community Board approval, Pali Realty voided the original application and added details to the BSA copy to make it appear that nothing at all had been hidden.
In addition, the Department of Buildings approved the plans despite being well aware of the new Astoria Rezoning in May 2010. I rarely think New York City should be responsible for looking out for the well-being of its citizens, but in this case the city failed miserably and they, ultimately, should be held accountable for decimating the properties my neighbors have worked so hard to purchase.
Please find the BSA resolution, attached, which spells out the restrictions. It is the best we can hope for at this time.
My neighbors still have broken homes and a resolution does not appear to be on the horizon.
Despite my anger, frustration and hurt, thank you again for maintaining a website and blog that shines a bright light on this insanity.