Illegal demolition of home angers Bayside residents

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

The demolition without permits of a house in Bayside has raised the ire of neighbors and prompted the city Buildings Department to assess the property owner $15,000 in fines for various violations.

Buildings Department spokesman Sid Dinsay said no permits had been filed for the demolition of the structure at 40-24 203rd St. nor had any other work permits been filed.

Finance Department records identify the property’s owner as Hamedan Homes, Inc., although Dinsay said violations were given to three entities: Hamedan Homes, a person named R. Rash and Bermed Construction Inc. of Queens Village. Finance Department records show a Richard Rash as the previous owner of the property. Attempts to reach all three were unsuccessful.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said a handful of residents on the block had called his office with complaints about the property, prompting him to bring it to the attention of the Buildings Department.

“If we hired more inspectors, the city would be making money because there are so many infractions of the building code around the city, it’s incredible,” said Avella.

“This has to stop,” he added. “There are serious health, safety and fire issues that are raised.”

Dinsay said 12 violations for infractions ranging from demolition without a permit and failure to remove combustible debris to failure to maintain construction fencing had been issued on the property.

The lot is now surrounded by wooden fencing, although no permits were on display. Dinsay said the city’s Housing, Preservation and Development Department was called to build a construction fence, but he was not certain whether that agency had, in fact, put up the fence.

“It could be that the contractor finally took heed of our violations,” he said.

When a violation is issued, Dinsay said, the owner is given time to correct the problem before fines are assessed.

Of the violations on the property, six were pending, one had been dismissed and five had gone into default, meaning that the owner had failed to certify that he had corrected the problems, Dinsay said.

The defaults on violations issued in December for the demolition without a permit had brought the owner a total of $15,000 in fines that have so far gone unpaid, Dinsay said.

Particularly egregious cases of permit violations could result in properties’ being padlocked, Dinsay said, although he could not assess whether the property in question fell into that category.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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