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Queens Chronicle

Seawall damage assessment needed

LeHavre co-ops seek funding for repairs, but who is responsible?

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:34 pm, Thu Mar 6, 2014.

Hurricane Sandy damage to a seawall at LeHavre co-ops in Whitestone has left owners of the 28-acre upscale waterfront property overlooking the Long Island Sound wondering who will pay.

Described as “luxury waterfront co-ops” by the real estate industry, LeHavre was built as rental units in 1958 and converted to co-ops in 1984. Damage to the seawall was discovered after the 2012 storm and the development’s insurance does not cover repair costs.

Last week, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Queens, Nassau, Suffolk) visited the site with Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside). Israel’s spokeswoman, Samantha Slater, said the purpose was to see the location and eventually find out who is responsible for repairs.

“We hope the Army Corps of Engineers will check it out and then we can proceed,” Slater said. “There is no cost estimate yet as the damage has to be assessed.

“Once we find out who is responsible, we can proceed with trying to find funding to repair it. They are having a hard time fitting into a government funding stream that would help them cover costs,” she added.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), who used to live in the area and represent it, said she is aware of the situation and has spoken to Israel about it. “Co-ops are not eligible for Sandy aide,” Stavisky said. “They are treated unfairly and should be considered as single-family homes.”

The senator added that paying to repair a seawall “is beyond what a co-op can handle.”

Calls to LeHavre manager Margaret Costello were not returned. Her office said she was out sick.

One LeHavre co-op owner, who asked not to be identified, told the Chronicle that she was unaware of the seawall damage. “This is news to me,” she said. “The last annual meeting on June 10, 2013 specifically said that the storm cleanup was organized by the Army Corps of Engineers and funded by FEMA,” and that nothing was mentioned about damage to the seawall or costs to repair it.

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