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Queens Chronicle

Junk houses still an Auburndale eyesore

Residents, civics and lawmaker looking for way to demolish homes

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:26 am, Thu Feb 14, 2013.

Auburndale residents are still fuming over four abandoned houses they say are bringing unwanted blight to their community, and they’re still exploring ways to wipe the unused homes off the map.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said his office has been fielding complaints about the row of homes since before he took office, and has been exploring ways to remove the eyesore.

The attached brick houses sit on an ungraded strip off 47th Avenue, partially finished since their construction in 2005. The homes use addresses along 198th Street due to their configuration. They failed to ever gain certificates of occupancy and changed hands. They are currently owned by Parsons Realty LLC, but have still come no closer to completion.

The homes offer a dismal picture: garbage remains strewn about the property; wooden boards fill in for windows and doors, which in some cases are broken or missing and still uncovered; and doors to some units are unlocked. A bevy of violations have been given out by city agencies due to the unsafe conditions and deviations from buildings and construction regulations. Parsons Realty has defaulted on 33 of those violations, which remain unpaid, while any chance of fixing the homes seems unrealistic.

The lawmaker said he reached out to the departments of Buildings, Health and Mental Hygiene and Sanitation, to no avail.

The Chronicle failed to reach Parsons Realty for comment.

Avella has now set up a local task force to address dilapidated projects, such as the Auburndale homes, in the hopes the Department of Buildings will condemn the houses.

“This is clearly one of the worst abandoned properties in all of Queens,” Avella said. “It has been an eyesore in this Auburndale community for seven years now and these conditions are simply unacceptable, especially for those residents who live right next to these properties.”

Members of the community joined Avella at a press conference on Jan. 31 to decry the buildings.

“Unfortunately, the problems have not been resolved to the community’s satisfaction and benefit,” said Henry Euler, first vice president of the Auburndale Improvement Association, adding, “The Department of Buildings should condemn these structures. The structures should be torn down and new legal structures should be constructed if the owner wishes to build again.

“All fines must be paid. All garbage must be removed from the site immediately and kept off in the future. Weeds must be trimmed, and the front sidewalk should be repaired. The owners must take responsibility for their property.”

Avella added the appearance of blight has the ripple effect of hitting neighbors in their wallets.

“A dilapidated lot like this creates a financial disaster for neighbors, who gradually see their property values decrease,” he said. “Neighbors of these abandoned properties also suffer from serious health and safety hazards created by the owner’s lack of maintenance. The deteriorating condition of these properties must be addressed .”

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