Stop St. Saviour’s build: Civics

By Joe Anuta

Activists from Maspeth want the city to do its job and stop construction on the site of the old St. Saviour’s church.

The company that is constructing the warehouses has incurred a construction violation and has a partial stop work order dating back to 2009, according to records from the city Department of Buildings.

“They are putting people in danger with what they are doing,” said activist Christina Wilkinson.

The violation is for having a chain link fence which the department lists an inadequate, while the partial stop-work order relates to a dilapidated retaining wall. A partial stop work order does not necessarily mean all work on the site has to shut down, according to the DOB website, but activists want the warehouse construction to stop..

In addition, the plans drawn up by Maspeth Development LLC contain glaring errors that should have had them rejected by Buildings, according to Paul Graziano, an urban planning consultant. In the drawings for the separate warehouses, two of them are curiously shown to be in the exact same location.

“Permits shouldn’t have been approved for properties that don’t have appropriate plans,” Graziano said. “It’s very clear that the city shouldn’t have given a green light on certain parts of this project.”

In addition, some of the drawings for the warehouses do not even match the zoning for the area, according to Graziano.

The city was notified about the contradictory plans in April, and Wilkinson said it is about time the city does its job.

The city Department of Buildings did not comment for this article by press time.

Not only should buildings shut down the construction site, but the city Sanitation Department should stop what Wilkinson called an illegal garbage dump on the site, she said.

Trucks come and dump construction waste from other sites into the lot, according to Wilkinson and Graziano.

But Sanitation inspectors have been to the site and did not notice anything illegal, according to a spokesman for the department.

“There is no illegal waste transfer,” Matthew Lipani said. “It’s activity conductive to a construction site.”

Wilkinson enlisted the help of several lawmakers to enforce the stop work order, but has seen little action taken thus far.

She sent a reminder to a representative of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), who pledged to investigate the problem and was told that someone would be looking into it this week.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) did not comment by press time.

Ultimately, Wilkinson wants the construction halted so a park can be constructed on the site.

“There is no need for anything to be built there because the city has the power to take the entire site by eminent domain,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to have a tiny park in the shadow of 30-foot warehouses. For them to allow this to continue is ridiculous. Enough talk, more action.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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