College Point residents say contractors conduct illegal late-night work at shelter site

Photo via A Better College Point Facebook

College Point residents claim contractors of a controversial men’s homeless shelter are working past the hours set by the city.

QNS learned that DOB issued an after-hours variance (AHV) for the shelter project at 127-03 20th Ave. The variance allows work to be done from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

But College Point resident Carola Duarte-Simmons penned a letter to Queens DOB Commissioner Derek Lee revealing that workers are working past the times specified in the variance.

“Almost every night the lights go off around 10 p.m. and they are back at it around 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. and the work goes on until 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. Many nights, there is lots of banging,” wrote Duarte-Simmons in the letter.

Duarte-Simmons also included a collection of photos and video illustrating violations including uncovered garbage and the installation of a fire escape and elevator without properly closing off the street or using any safety equipment.

On the A Better College Point Facebook page, community organizer Jennifer Shannon posted photos of the proposed shelter with its lights illuminated on the evening of Sunday, April 7. Shannon also posted accompanying photos of two cell phones displaying the times 9:12 p.m., 2:29 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

“We desperately need EVERYONE to call 311 before the Tuesday and file and “Escalated Complaint,” a complaint against a city [agency] (DOB & DEP) because nothing is being done about our regular complaints,” said Shannon in the Facebook post. “You must tell them that we call night after night and nothing is ever done and the problem is never solved. Tell them that when a regular complaint is made you are told the DOB will respond [within] 14 days during regular business hours. Tell them that this does not solve the problem because when the inspector goes during the day the contractor is working within the permitted hours.”

According to records on the DOB’s Buildings Information System (BIS) database, the city agency has received 52 public 311 complaints about after-hours work. DOB labeled most of the complaints as “resolved.” One complaint made on April 8 about after-hours work remains “active.”

BIS records show that DOB has not issued any stop work orders on the property.