A house tucked away on a tree−lined side street in Forest Hills has residents fearing for their safety and the state of their quiet neighborhood.
Though the city Department of Buildings doled out $7,000 in fines and issued a stop−work order at the beginning of the month to stop operations at 110−46 63rd Road, Aleksey Construction workers ignored the mandate until earlier this week, according to individuals living in the neighborhood. The residents said they were concerned the ongoing work could cause falling debris to harm passers−by, next−door neighbors or private property.
According to DOB documents, Astoria business owner Vasilios Kourkoumelis applied in April to enlarge the rear of the one−family attached town house, owned by Vadim Fezamayev, and add a partial third floor. Additional work was to include general construction and plumbing.
The city granted work permits, but on Nov. 6 the DOB issued the stop work order because the demolition was unsafe, the documents said.
Complaints filed with the DOB said workers were building above and beyond what the DOB had granted permission for.
“You wonder when something bad is going to happen,” said one resident, who declined to be identified for fear of angering neighbors who might retaliate. “The people on the other side of the house can’t even go into their backyard, I guess, because of stuff that could come from the construction, from stuff falling from the roof. It’s dangerous.”
None of the approximate 10 neighborhood residents who spoke with the TimesLedger would give their full names — or their names at all — and some said they were concerned physical harm could come to them if they spoke out against the occupants of the house in question.
The next door neighbors at 110−44 63rd Road would not say anything about the situation, despite the fact that the DOB had posted a sign on their window saying no one may enter the site’s rear yard because the city “determined that conditions in this premises are imminently perilous for life.”
“Everybody is scared to say something,” said Antonio, a neighborhood resident for nearly 30 years. “It’s very dangerous to expose your name.”
Construction continued on the site until last week, according to residents and complaints filed with the DOB.
Neither Kourkoumelis nor officials from the Forest Hills−based Aleksey Construction could be reached for comment.
Residents complained that far too often they see the smaller homes — those they say mesh with the area’s character — demolished or added onto to create McMansions that are a blight on the neighborhood. Three other houses on the block have been hit with Building’s Department violations in the last six months for illegal conversions such as expanded roofs and rear and front yards, according to the DOB’s online database.
“Initially it was nice,” neighborhood resident Maria said of the area where she has lived in for decades. “The exteriors of the homes were alike, but then they started changing everything. How can they just keep building up like that?”
“They are building without any regard to the neighbors,” Antonio said. “They are breaking the old homes and building way up, blocking the view of everybody.”
©2008 Community News Group
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