The Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on Dec. 14, which it then partially rescinded on Tuesday, for the construction site at 33-11 148 St. in Flushing.
The stop-work order was issued “after an inspection determined that the building’s chimney had partially collapsed, and that the construction site was missing a required construction fence,” a DOB spokesman told the Chronicle, adding that it was rescinded “so that the contractor can brace the partially collapsed chimney, and then safely remove the chimney. All other construction work is still prohibited under the partial stop work order.”
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) had written three letters to the agency’s commissioner, Rick Chandler, about the building in the past three months, notifying it of what some constituents called illegal building: erecting a two-and-a-half-story house in an R2A-zoned area, which does not permit it.
“As you should recall, residents reported that the plans filed with your agency show a ‘1-story’ horizontal and vertical enlargement to an existing ‘1-story’ home,” the letter said. “However, residents believe that this construction is not for a ‘1-story’ home, but in face for a ‘two-and-a-half-story’ home.”
Flushing resident Paul Graziano is very concerned about the building, which isn’t far from his home.
“My guess is the chimney partially collapsed because they used a machine to demolish rather than a hand demolition,” he said.
Graziano went on to say that, “without question,” more than 50 percent of the pre-construction building had been destroyed. The permit application was filed under an Alt-1 permit, which requires that at least half of the original building be retained.
A complaint given to the department seven years ago says that the first floor of the house was being used as an illegal hotel and another from 2013 says that there was an illegal conversion at the building’s basement.
A filing record from June shows that two units are proposed for the site, although the building’s owner, Cheung Lam, said that it is inaccurate.
“That’s not true,” he said. “Only one family, one unit.”
“According to the schedule A in the approved plans, this will be a one-unit residential building with two floors,” a DOB spokesperson said.
Avella said that his office will follow up until Chandler responds to the concerns in the letters.
“I guess he feels maybe he’s too important to respond to this type of issue but I’m gonna have my staff call the commissioner’s office today and see what’s going on,” he said.