Saturday, January 25, 2014

Resolution for collapsed building may be in the works

From the Forum:

After months of civic leaders pleading with the city to do something about a Woodhaven building that partially collapsed in April, sending a sea of bricks crashing onto Jamaica Avenue during a busy rush hour, an elected official said there could be a light at the end of the tunnel regarding the structure that has prompted numerous safety concerns and become what residents call a serious eyesore.

Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) said this week that the property’s landlord, a group by the name of 78-19 Jamaica Ave. LLC, has hired an architect to look into fixing the crumbling building that stands in a bustling commercial corridor.

“It took a long time, but at least something is going to be done about it,” Miller said.

When the roof of the abandoned furniture store collapsed, it sent a storm of bricks into an area often packed with vehicles and pedestrians during rush hour. A car was badly damaged in the collapse, but no one was hurt.

The landlord, who could not be reached for comment, has reportedly recently paid thousands of dollars in fines owed to the city for a variety of violations, from a failure to maintain the building to conducting work without a permit, according to area elected officials and civic leaders. However, those payments have not been recorded on the city Department of Building’s website, which still states that there are 33 open DOB violations on the property, as well as eight open Environmental Control Board violations.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings said the DOB issued a criminal court summons for failure to maintain the building and failure to comply with the DOB commissioner’s order to file plans and commence work to repair the building by Nov. 29, 2013. While a judge in a criminal court case does not have the power to force a defendant to make repairs, there is incentive for the owner to comply with the summons – and make repairs – because it can lead to a better outcome for them.


Anonymous said...

They are doing nothing with the property but wasting the space. It's a shame to see how these landlords treat their land. Smh

Anonymous said...

"While a judge in a criminal court case does not have the power to force a defendant to make repairs"...

Why not? There need to be some serious amendments to these laws. Suppose someone was seriously hurt or even worse killed as a result of this building collapse, then who would be accountable? Time for these property owners to be more transparent and responsible for these endangering incidents. Homeowners must answer to the law so no exception for commercial properties.

Anonymous said...

What is more of a shame is how these landlords treat their neighbors and neighborhoods. It is a shame how they unfairly impact the value of their neighbors homes and businesses.

The resolution for that collapsed building and all problematic buildings left to rot away is that the owners should be forced by law -- to demolish the buildings at their own expense.

DOB needs a complete overhaul from the top down. Fist thing you do is get rid of LiMandri -- he's an empty suit. Then, you totally clean house. You root out all the corruption that remains. You get rid of all the inspectors who know not what they do. And, until that is done to the point of satisfaction, no more building permits should be issued by the DOB.

The DOB cannot monitor the projects all ready in progress. Yet, there is always a push to encourage "new" development. The self-certification program needs to be abolished. The falsification of documents has to be prosecuted.

Projects that are not compeleted and have been lying dormant for more than three years should be leveled to the ground.

Until this happens, nothing will change. The Mayor needs to put together a special task force to investigate the DOB. The DOI, it seems, should have taken it upon itself to do that.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the DoB can refer an immediately hazardous unsafe building to HPD for emergency repairs - indeed, this is the normal course. The owner can file a "stop" if they stand ready to immediately perform the work themselves. This is another case of DoB snookering the public, and the politicians. This needs to stop!