On a well-maintained row of houses in Middle Village, there’s one residence that stands out — for all the wrong reasons.
The house, at 58-22 84th St., is overrun with rust and decay, while graffiti-ridden commercial trucks parked in the driveway draw dirty looks from neighbors and inspections from the city.
The city Department of Buildings dispatched its Padlock Enforcement Unit to the house in December but is still debating whether the structure should be labeled a public nuisance. The homeowner, Ganesh Arora, has amassed more than $25,000 in unpaid fines from nine outstanding building violations over the past decade, according to the DOB.
A DOB representative said Arora has ignored summonses to appear in court and department requests to bring the property into compliance. Repeated calls to a phone number associated with Arora went unanswered.
The Padlock Enforcement Unit works to remove illegal commercial and manufacturing uses in residential houses. The unit’s most recent visit to the house resulted in the removal of the commercial trucks, but neighbors believe it is only a matter of time before the trucks come back.
The Juniper Park Civic Association, whose members have kept a close eye on the ramshackle residence for decades, called the house “a poster child for violations.”
“You name the violation, this property has it,” said Bob Holden, president of the civic association, who also worries that the dilapidated dwelling is bringing down property values on the block. “This has been going on for decades. How is this allowed to continue?”
Besides the poor condition of the house itself, the owner made illegal curb cuts limiting street parking and he also built long drain pipes running from the roof, down the side of the house and onto the street.
“This guy [Arora] is a scofflaw and he brings down the quality of life in the neighborhood,” Holden said. “This type of problem is a cancer that will spread through the rest of the neighborhood.”
Holden said he has brought the issue to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) on numerous occasions, but she has yet to take action. When reached for comment, Crowley said this house is one of several in the district that she considers unsafe.
“We have seen several houses in this district that are both unsightly and unsafe, including this one,” she said. “The Department of Buildings does not have nearly enough power to enforce corrections or compliance with existing laws and I think the city should consider working with the Department of Finance to add egregious violators, like this, to the lien sale list.”
A DOB representative said the department will continue to monitor the house and the homeowner can expect many future visits to the site.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2012 Community News Group
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