From the Daily News:
A Bronx property owner is going to have to trim two stories off the top of his Southern Blvd. building now that the City Council rejected his bid for a zoning exception.
Now, the fate of 57 families who are being sheltered in the controversial and squalid building appears to be up in the air.
“Maybe now, we’ll be relocated to someplace decent instead of this rathole,” said Kevin Sanford, 49, who lives on the sixth floor.
The building owner, Julius Ausch, started trying to legalize the eight-story building — which is two floors taller then permitted — in response to a loud outcry this summer over his alleged disregard for local laws.
The Council rejection disregarded an earlier okay by the City Planning Commission, in August, that appeared to give Ausch the green light.
“The overbuild of the facility was not done in error, but done intentionally in order to maximize the number of homeless families the facility could accommodate,” Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo wrote in a letter to the Council’s zoning committee.
The decision caps months of rallying by Bronx officials and residents, who have called the building’s living conditions “deplorable.”
Tenants have complained of rodents, leaks and shoddy workmanship in the building, which is run by the non-profit New Hope Transitional Housing.
Arroyo and local community board leaders have also questioned why the shelter has been allowed to operate without valid paperwork since last year.