Three years ago, workers began demolishing 2820 Avenue Z to make way for a new building. The problem is, it never had permission to do so. The resulting mess is a portrait of Department of Building’s inefficacy that is now putting schoolchildren across the street at P.S. 52 in danger.
After making your way past the fallen fencing and through garbage and jagged debris, you reach a 7-foot drop into a partially excavated foundation, which the DOB forced property owners to re-line with cinder blocks. In the middle of it all is a pile of loosely standing splinters that could generously be called the construction’s frame.
Beer bottles, junk food wrappers, spray paint cans, and the graffiti on the walls show that teenagers have been messing around in here. A crossing guard for the school across the street says she chases the school children out of there on a daily basis. She’s tried calling the number on the side – a general contractor – but gets no response.
She adds that other contractors and businesses have started using the lot as a dumping ground. If neighbors are lucky, those businesses put the garbage inside the lot. If not, they leave it on the sidewalk next to it.
It’s not as if the DOB doesn’t know. Since construction began in 2007 there has been 14 complaints about potential violations. The most recent complaint was on January 12, 2010, informing the DOB that the fencing came down. Almost a full month earlier, on December 10, a caller warned that the fence looked like it was about to fall in one section, and was teetering in another (and noted the elementary school nearby). Violations were served and the case marked “resolved”, but that gave no practical solutions to the problem. According to the crossing guard, it was less than a week later that the fence collapsed.
The fencing, what remains standing of it, anyway, does not have any permits or other documentation posted.
At least two stop work orders have been applied – one currently in effect for the building’s demolition and foundation excavation without permits. Strangely, the order was given after inspectors had visited at least seven times since demolition began and failed to notice the violation.
And now we’re stuck with this baffling mess. The owners, currently Andrey Shutov (before that it was A & G Deluxe Development, LLC, registered to Gene Kruglyak), clearly don’t give a damn about the safety of neighbors or the schoolchildren across the street.
But what about the DOB? Why can’t they do more to ensure this is a safe work site? This needs to be shut down and cleaned up immediately before anyone gets hurt.