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Jackson Hts. repair goofs

The city Landmarks Commission during a hearing Jan. 9 turned down a plan from the owners of the Cedar Court at 83-09 35th Ave. in Jackson Heights that proposed to legalize the changes it made during their repair of the 63-unit building, Landmarks spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon said.The property is owned by a company called Grand Review, LLC, of East New York, N.J., and is managed by Urban American Management, of the same address, property records show.The work, which included replacing a fence and other changes, was not considered illegal for safety or structural reasons, but because it did not conform to landmark regulations, de Bourbon said.The owners were issued four Notice of Violations by Landmarks for work done on the property, and the rejected proposal was an attempt to rectify the violations, she said."To legalize it they had to come to us for permission after the fact, but it was rejected," De Bourbon said.She said the company could be fined or future permits could be withheld as leverage to force the company to conform to agency rulings. The work began shortly after Urban American, through a holding company called Grand Review, LLC, bought the company in June. Grand Review also owns an 87-unit apartment building in the proposed Sunnyside Gardens historic district, located at 46-01 Skillman Ave.Urban American was not immediately available for comment.The Landmarks Commission is considering a proposal to landmark approximately 600 buildings in Sunnyside Gardens, that has drawn criticizm from some residents.A contractor for Urban American was repairing a brick pillar on the Jackson Heights property last July that had been topped with terra cotta dolphins, but were now topped with urns.De Bourbon said the focus on the Jackson Heights building, that was brought to the agency's attention through public complaints, was an example of the city holding up Landmarks's regulations.A landmark supporter in Jackson Heights acknowledged that there were problems in the enforcement of the Jackson Heights Historic District, which was designated in 1993, but said overall the neighborhood was better for it."It is not perfect and unfortunately it can be perceived that it being too lenient on offenders," said Daniel Karatzas, director of Jackson Heights Beautification Group.He said it took about five years before building owners became more consistent in following landmark guidelines for applications."It takes a while before the benefits outweigh the perceived disadvantages," he said.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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