Illegal Home Conversions Making 13th Avenue Trashy, Says McCabe

Illegal Home Conversions Making 13th Avenue Trashy, Says McCabe
Photo courtesy of the Liam McCabe Campaign Office

City Council candidate (43rd District) Liam McCabe recently spoke to Dyker Heights residents and business owners over concerns about garbage piling up along 13th Avenue.

McCabe says the garbage problems stem from illegal home conversions that are “pushing the limits of the infrastructure in our community.”

The surge in illegal home conversions has been an ongoing issue in Dyker Heights and surrounding neighborhoods, with properties zoned for single or two family homes being converted into multi-family homes or Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residences.

In an effort to combat this illegal practice, City Council Member Vincent Gentile introduced a bill last June that would increase the penalties for aggravated illegal conversions, which are defined as three or more illegal dwelling units being created within one structure. These conversions make existing structures unsafe for occupants and neighbors and increase fire and health hazards. They also lead to overcrowding in schools and put a stress on resources that the local infrastructure cannot support.

A hearing on the bill was held on October 31, 2016, as it currently still works its way through the City Council.

The proposed bill would establish a fine of at least $45,000 for aggravated illegal conversions ($15,000 for each unit) and expand the authority of the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) and the New York City Environmental Control Board (ECB) to inspect properties and impose fines and other penalties.

“Garbage in the Dyker Heights neighborhood has never been worse,” McCabe stated, “the Department of Sanitation is being overwhelmed, and this is just one symptom of the epidemic of illegal home conversions.”

McCabe plans to meet with the Department of Sanitation to discuss how to meet the needs of Dyker Heights businesses and residents. He will also work with community leaders, the DOB, and ECB in ending illegal home conversions in Dyker Heights and other neighborhoods.

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