104th cracks down on illegal building

By Nathan Duke

Robert Hudak, a DOB liaison, told civic members Jan. 17 that the department will set up a task force consisting of two teams of agents who will perform 10 to 15 inspections per day at development sites throughout the borough where stop-work orders have continually been violated. One team will cover Community Boards 1 through 7 and another team will cover boards 8 through 14, he said.Residents in Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood have lodged numerous complaints against neighborhood construction sites in recent months, including a four-story apartment complex being developed in Maspeth by notorious Flushing developer Tommy Huang, Maspeth's St. Savior's Church and a yeshiva in Glendale.”Almost every block in our communities have some kind of development,” civic President Robert Holden said. “You see construction fences go up, buildings go down and then we get a much larger building than we had before. The problem is on the weekends we can't get the DOB to come out if a stop-work order is being violated and the police have problems because they do not know what summonses to write.”Hudak said the DOB will give special attention to sites with numerous complaints about stop-work order violations.Capt. Scott Shanley of the 104th Precinct said his officers will receive some training on how to properly respond to violations.”We receive stop-work order complaints on a daily basis,” he said. “In the past, our main function has been to keep the peace rather than enforce.”Civic members and leaders said they were pleased that the DOB will give the violations more attention, but argued that the department's new program might not be enough.”Two teams in 14 community boards does not seem like much of an effort,” said Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association.Edward Kampermann, vice president of Juniper Park, said the city should dole out stricter punishments for violators, whom he said are often chased off properties but not given fines.”Saying, 'pick up your tools and go home, boys,' does not sound like a punishment to me,” he said. “People are sick of lukewarm answers. The laws apply to every borough, but we are not getting the right protection in Queens. We want action.”Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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