For the last four years, the home at 215-06 49th Ave. has been abandoned and left surrounded by construction fencing — an eyesore that many Bayside residents want fixed immediately.
Neighbors gathered outside the construction site on Friday, Oct. 7, to call attention to a series of hazards and quality-of-life concerns the location has caused.
Joana Fegos, a next-door neighbor and Bayside resident of 30 years, has been dealing with problems stemming from the abandoned residence for years. According to Fegos, standing water in the yard and within the foundation has attracted mosquitoes, deterring her and her husband from sitting in their yard or opening their windows.
“I have a can of mosquito spray outside. I have to spray myself every time I leave,” Fegos said.
“My house, my yard are overgrown with weeds,” fellow neighbor Helen Smindak added. “[Raccoons] nest in the house, in the building; they come out into my yard at night. They’re digging up the yard. This is the second or third year that’s been happening.”
“It’s breeding animals,” said Rich Ernst, resident of 20 years. “Everybody in this neighborhood takes care of their homes for the most part. This is an eyesore and it’s a disgrace. This is not somebody that’s thinking of the neighborhood like everybody else does.”
Signs posted on construction fencing — which features no standard viewing panels — indicate the property is owned by Woei Chen Lee. Neighbors have tried to contact Lee, but to no avail.
“If they’re not gonna build … they have to clean up this mess,” Fegos said.
Other residents spoke up, saying they want to see more.
“I don’t mean to disagree, but I think than we want more than cleaned up,” said another neighbor. “We would like somebody to live in that house. We don’t want to have a vacant house.”
After a discussion with neighbors, state Senator Tony Avella spoke about the issue in front of the abandoned home.
“Once again I am standing in front of an abandoned construction site,” Avella said. “All too often we have these situations in very well-maintained, middle-class neighborhoods where homeowners are paying some of the highest property taxes in the country.”
A NYC Department of Buildings [DOB] work permit allowing an extension of the cellar, first and second floors — first issued on Nov. 16, 2012 — was just renewed on April 15, 2016. Still, neighbors present at the conference say they haven’t seen anyone working on the property in years.
“The site behind me is just one more example of how the city seems incapable of dealing with these abandoned construction sites,” continued Avella. “This property owner has $16,000 worth of fines sitting on the property — hasn’t paid.”
“DOB last issued a violation on Jan. 30, 2016, for failing to file a certificate of correction for a previous violation,” a DOB spokesperson told QNS. “This previous violation was issued for the presence of excessive construction debris. The property owners currently owe $16,000 in fines for violations. DOB will continue to monitor the property, and may take additional enforcement actions as necessary.”
Avella said he has contacted the DOB, the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Health and Hygiene and is awaiting a reply.
“We’re here today to call upon the city to resolve this situation once and for all and to clean up this site,” Avella closed. “It is just unacceptable for the community to have to deal with this for over four years.”
QNS reached out to the property owner and has not heard back.