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Dutch Kills residents to appeal suit

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A month after the decision was made, residents from Dutch Kills irate over a nine-story hotel under construction on a residential block in the neighborhood learned their suit against the developer had been thrown out, but they are not yet giving up the fight.

“We’re not backing down,” said Barbara Lorinz, director of the Dutch Kills Advocacy League. “We’re going all the way.”

The residents’ lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State County Supreme Court, concerned a hotel on 39-35 27th St. by developer Steven Bahar. Residents have been protesting the hotel for three years, saying Bahar’s construction damaged the two homes bordering the property and his hotel was unfairly grandfathered in.

“We’re not against development at all. Progress has got to go on, but not 14 hotels in a matter of 10 blocks. That’s outrageous,” Lorinz said.

After a 2008 rezoning, planned buildings taller than 70 feet were allowed to be built, provided they had their foundation 80 percent completed. Bahar did not have his foundation built, but received a go-ahead from the city Board of Standards and Appeals.

Lorinz, whose property borders Bahar’s on the back side, said the lawsuit was rejected because they had missed a deadline to file.

“[Bahar] broke every law in the book as far as damages and everything else, and he didn’t make his foundation in time and he’s still a winner,” Lorinz said.

Bahar took issue with the complaints against his project, saying no one had gotten injured at the site.

“I think these actions against me stem from their desire to not see any high-rise buildings which are out of character in height,” Bahar said.

Vienna Ferreri, who lives next door to the property, said she found it surprising that the residents had not been alerted immediately after the decision was made, but said they were appealing the decision in the appellate court.

“It’s frustrating. It’s three years. It’s enough,” Ferreri said.

Ferreri said her house has been damaged extensively by the construction, but she has been unable to move because of her sick mother. While she met with the contractor and some of the problems have been fixed, many more remain.

“[Contractors for Bahar] have agreed to do a lot to fix the damage, but I won’t believe it until I’ve seen it,” she said.

This hotel is one of two Bahar is building in the area. The other, a nine-story hotel at 29-11 39th Ave. in Long Island City, is nearly complete. Due to resident complaints, Community Board 1 voted to recommend the BSA deny Bahar a certificate of occupancy in December. Silvercup Studios, a movie and television studio in Long Island City, also filed suit against Bahar last month for using his planned name for the structure, Silvercup Hotel.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:48 am, October 12, 2011
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