Garaufis home ruiner’s permit may be revoked 1

The Department of Buildings issued a 10-day notice to end construction at 218-15 40 Ave., the property where a stately old home formerly owned by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis was recently destroyed.

The Department of Buildings has issued a 10-day notice of revoking permits to the owners of the property that used to host the house formerly owned by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Bayside.

Issued on April 20, the notice informs the homeowners of the Buildings Department’s objections to the construction and gives them 10 days to respond. If the property owners do not resolve the agency’s objections, the permits are revoked.

The objections at the construction site, according to the DOB, are “Garage must be demolished,” “2nd floor joists to roof were demolished — revise demo and floor plan to match field conditions,” “Revise first floor layout,” “Revise asbestos report to ensure consistency with scope of work,” and “Aggregate width of balcony shall not exceed 50% of the width of the building wall it protects.”

The ALT-1 permit that the property’s owners were using to build requires that 50 percent of the original structure be maintained, a rule that has clearly been violated, as the house was torn down.

According to Flushing-based zoning expert Paul Graziano, the property’s owner will have trouble fighting the 10-day notice.

“The more likely scenario is that they will have their permits revoked and they will have to file for a new building,” Graziano said.

The new building permit, he added, is more expensive to apply for than the ALT-1 permit.

Elected officials for the area reached out to the Buildings Department about the issue before the agency issued the notice.

The office of Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), according to a spokesman for it, contacted the DOB to request an inspection of the property on April 14, and was notified of the inspection’s results six days later.

“We’re satisfied with the response from the Buildings Department,” Braunstein’s chief of staff, David Fischer, told the Chronicle.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) wrote a letter to the Department of Buildings’ Queens borough commissioner on April 15 requesting an inspection of the site.

“I plan to meet with the owners and the community to go over the Department of Buildings’ objections,” Avella said in a prepared statement.

Last October, Jia Hua Realty, LLC purchased the house from Garaufis.

According to Lisa Huang, the daughter of the company’s owner, Shi Jie Huang, the house’s owners have not been notified of the objections by the Buildings Department. “We’ll handle them once we see what they are,” Huang said.

When asked by the Chronicle if the owners of the property were informed of the objections, a DOB spokesman sent an emailed statement that said, “The letter goes to the applicant of record, the owner listed on the application, and any contractor that holds the permit for the job.” He added that the “letter should have been sent out” on April 20.

Though the zoning diagram for the property subdivides it into a 40-by-100 and a 60-by-100 a lot, Huang says that there are no plans to build two houses.

“We’re only building on the 60-by-100,” she said. Regarding the remaining space, Huang added, “Right now, it’s just going to be an empty lot.”


(1) comment


It's very unfortunate when newcomers enter a neighborhood and could not care any less about either the history or the conformity of structures. They just want to come in and make things as they were back in their homeland with the lack of concern for those around them.

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