Instead his son Henry appeared on Huang's behalf to have the case adjourned until July 27, according to an ECB representative.
In the meantime, the plans for three additional homes he wants to build on the same site have been approved by the city's Department of Buildings.
Huang was cited by the Buildings Department in April for violations stemming from work done at 39-39 223rd St., where he plans to construct a total of four homes where a one-family residence once stood.
The violations charge him with "failure to safeguard public and property affected by construction operations" after excavation led to the collapse of the retaining wall, fence, pool lines and lighting of next door neighbor Patricia Martin's house at 39-33 223rd St.
Huang was also charged with failing to report the collapse to the Buildings Department and failing to provide protection and fences during the construction. A stop work order was issued by the agency until "the work is done to shore up what was undermined," said Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for the Buildings Department.
Huang is theoretically allowed to proceed with the construction of the three other homes even as he faces the other violations, according to Givner.
"The stop work order is only contingent upon the fixing of the situation" of the initial violations, she said. "It is independent of the ECB fines," which Huang can continue to fight in court.
"I'm very disappointed," Martin said. "I had wanted a review of the architect's self-certification because there was no shoring plan filed" to prevent the property from being damaged in the first place, she said.
"The next step is probably litigation. We have not been able to make any good faith negotiations," she said.
Martin said she would sue "for damages and then some," adding that she estimated the cost of damages to be about $250,000.
She expressed her skepticism with the quality of the homes that Huang plans to build.
"Going forward, I'm not confident that they can do this," Martin said. "What I am disturbed about is that I understand they're putting in septic tanks. I'm concerned about the environmental impact."
Ultimately, Martin would like to prevent work from ever resuming on the lot. "We're still going to see that the stop work order is not lifted, by whatever means possible," she said. "I'd just like to get back to a normal way of living and not deal with the frustration that this has caused us."
Huang is well-acquainted with controversy. Many Bayside residents were upset when Huang made public his initial plans to develop four homes at the site on 223rd Street, while similar size neighborhood lots hold one home.
Frank Skala, the president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, was not surprised that Huang filed for adjournment.
"It's not a shock for me because he always postpones everything for as long as possible, almost like a child would," Skala said. "I don't expect this to end soon."
Huang was convicted of felony in 1999 for environmental damage done to the historic Flushing RKO Keith's Theatre in Flushing when he was the owner. Huang also purchased the Klein Farm in Fresh Meadows after a proposed plan to build 22 homes on the farm's property was ultimately withdrawn after public outcry. He recently sold the farm.
Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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