Queens Village couple irate over house damage

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After 10 months of being forced to use only the front portion of their driveway due to construction damage caused by their neighbor, Roberta and Michael Duffy of Queens Village have had enough and want it fixed.

But their neighbor, Peter Dadiz, said he has told them numerous times he would fix the driveway once he finishes construction on his new two-family home and two garages.

Late last year Dadiz razed the one-family home he and his family lived in for 20 years to build a two-family home. Dadiz said he and his wife will live in one side of the home while his son will use the other side.

It was during the demolition and removal of the old house 10 months ago that the Duffys’ driveway was damaged.

The driveway to the Duffy home in a quiet tree-lined neighborhood of one- and two-family homes looks like a dried-up creek with cracks and crevices running its length.

The Queens Village couple, who have lived at 90-42 Borkel Place for the past 26 years, were angry that their neighbor of 20 years never talked to them about his plans and has made no attempt to give them any assurances he would fix the damage. All they were asking for was a letter in writing that the driveway would be fixed.

“We have said, ‘Don’t worry, we will fix it,’” Dadiz said. “We are nice people, not the type of people who would not fix the damage. We have to finish everything. If we fixed their driveway right away, we would have to do it again and again.”

Roberta Duffy said the relationship before the problems started was amicable and the neighbors never had a problem. Dadiz even hugged her recently at the post office, she said.

Paul Wein, a spokesman for the city Department of Buildings, said his agency received a complaint on June 18 and issued a stop work order on the construction of the home until the necessary safety shorings were built. Roberta Duffy said she had filed the complaint.

Safety shorings are attachments to the house and garage that prevent damage to a neighbor’s property during construction.

Wein said once the site meets the necessary regulations, Dadiz can resume construction of his two-family home. He said Dadiz has an Aug. 7 court date with the Buildings Department on the safety violations.

According to the Buildings Department, fixing the damage caused by the construction is a private matter between Roberta Duffy, Dadiz and the construction company.

The only way Roberta Duffy can force Dadiz to pay for the damage would be to take him to civil court.

Roberta Duffy said she has heard all his promises but contended Dadiz is only trying to placate them and has brushed aside any of her attempts to get the problem resolved. She said the driveway is in such bad shape that she can only park one of her cars, whereas before she could fit all three of her cars on the driveway.

She said what makes matters worse is “now my nine grandchildren cannot visit because they might get hurt” playing outside.

On Father’s Day, she said, a large crater began developing under her garage and bricks started to fall from the garage because of the construction of Dadiz’s two-car garage next to her property line.

Soon after the Buildings Department halted construction June 18 Roberta Duffy said Dadiz’s builders were back at work. Wein said the workers were putting in the safety shorings.

Dadiz maintained he had attained all the necessary building permits and has followed the necessary rules and regulations in the construction of his home. He said he does not deny the construction has caused damage to the Duffys’ property and he has repeatedly promised to fix the damage. It is not cost-effective to fix Duffy’s driveway until construction is finished, he said.

It is unclear when his new two-family house will be finished.

“Every time she complains we have to pay the Buildings Department $500,” Dadiz said. “They say it is a violation and we are contesting it.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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