From the Queens Chronicle:
For the third straight hearing and the third straight month, the Board of Standards and Appeals declined to vote on whether to grant a zoning variance for a medical building on 31st Street in Astoria, instead postponing the decision again until next month.
The project’s developers and the neighbors who live behind the building have been fighting for years over substantial damage to the neighbors’ homes that they say was caused by the facility’s construction. The neighbors are also worried about noise, light and air pollution they say the structure and the 135-car parking garage may cause.
There is currently a stop-work order on the building after the Department of Buildings found last year that the building was built 10 feet too deep into the rear yard, in violation of zoning regulations. Pali Realty, the developer, can’t start work again until it obtains the zoning variance from the BSA, which has given the neighbors the opportunity to voice their concerns.
The case is a bit unorthodox because if [neighbor Robert] Draghi had not used a little-known maneuver through the city’s bureaucracy, he may never have been in the position to negotiate with Pali Realty at all.
The developers had been ignoring Draghi for years, he said, and last summer, Draghi and his wife decided they’d had enough of empty promises from contractors and inaction from the Department of Buildings and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).
So they used what Draghi called their “last resort”: they went to the DOB to demand an audit of the near-completed medical facility in person. Draghi said they had to do “tons and tons of research” before finding that the audit was an option.
Vallone said he was unaware of the audit process but is glad Draghi used it. Though he never got personally involved, his staff had been working with Draghi and the other neighbors. Vallone said he is “extremely upset” about the situation.
Peter Vallone been a city council member for almost 12 years and didn't know that the DOB audits projects? Every civic person in Queens is aware of this. And he admits that he never got personally involved? Why the hell not? Maybe he wants to be our borough president so he can personally walk across the hall and tell the Queens DOB to lay off his friends' projects.