BY ROBERT POZARYCKI AND ANTHONY GIUDICE
UPDATED Monday, Nov. 9, 4:05 p.m.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a partial vacate order Monday at the Yeshiva Godolah Seminary in Glendale after determining the dormitories on campus were illegal.
According to the DOB’s website, the order came after the agency issued the seminary located at 74-10 88th St. an Environmental Control Board (ECB) violation for illegally converting classrooms on the first floor and mezzanine into living quarters for some of its students. The DOB had issued a full vacate order for the yeshiva on Friday before amending it to a partial order Monday.
“During a recent inspection of 74-10 88th St., we discovered the presence of 392 beds on site with little or no required life safety protections, including sprinkler systems that had been disabled or covered over, obstructed building exits, and significant alterations to the building that had been performed without permits,” said Rick Chandler, DOB commissioner. “To protect the property’s occupants, the department took immediate action to vacate the premises last week.”
This partial vacate order still allows occupancy of the lecture hall and cafeteria where hazardous conditions have been remediated.
“Current enforcement actions include a partial vacate order for portions of 74-10 88th St., as well as the adjacent building at 83-14 72nd Dr., where life safety violations have not been resolved,” Chandler added. “The order will remain in place until the hazardous conditions, and the use of the building contrary to the Certificate of Occupancy, among other violations, are remediated by the property owner. We are working closely with the property owners to address these conditions.”
The DOB database also notes that the site also has two open “work without a permit” violations that were originally issued on Nov. 2.
Approximately 360 students were residing at the yeshiva, and there are plans in the works to expand the campus that would nearly double its dormitory population. Community Board 5 members and local residents, however, protested both the expansion plan and the existing dormitories, claiming that they violated the site’s existing certificate of occupancy and zoning codes.
“In addition, we audited the certificate of occupancy for the property, issued in 2008, and found that it was approved in error,” Chandler said. “Auditors found the inclusion of the term “dorm” on the certificate of occupancy was not supported by the submitted plans for the property.”
The Buildings Department confirmed those claims late last month, when it served the yeshiva a violation for breaching existing zoning codes at the site.
At its October meeting, the board recommended denial of a Board of Standards and Appeals variance permitting the yeshiva expansion.