Dutch Kills projects out of control: Gioia

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As work appeared to continue at a Dutch Kills construction site where the wall of an adjacent building collapsed two weeks ago, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) called on the city Department of Buildings to prevent developers from cutting corners as they race to finish jobs before the City Council potentially approves a rezoning after an Oct. 2 hearing.

"Development out here is like the Wild West," Gioia said, noting developers can get their projects "grandfathered" in under existing zoning rules if 80 percent of their foundation is laid before the Council vote.

With proposed plans for the rezoning reducing manufacturing zoning in favor of more residential zoning, hotels would be allowed on far fewer blocks, Gioia said. The Council must vote to approve or reject the rezoning by Oct. 30.

No one was injured when foundation work at 40-40 27th St. undermined the foundation of the taxi painting shop next door Sept. 3.

Though a stop-work order was placed on the site, an excavator continued to operate behind the construction fence Monday.

Calls to a number listed on a sign on the fence for the property owner, AM Holding of NY Corp., reached the office of the DOB's Building Enforcement Safety Team. A number listed on DOB records produced only a busy signal.

A cement contractor who declined to give his name said the collapse was only partial, involving a 3-by-5-foot chunk of cinder blocks. He said the wall was improperly constructed, but noted he was replacing it.

The DOB received several complaints that the construction was undermining the foundation of the adjacent building, according to online records.

The contractor said the building will be a nine-story hotel. DOB records show a 10-story building with three parking spaces.

Dutch Kills has seen a spike in hotel developments recently. Currently 11 are under construction in the area, Gioia said, noting his office has received complaints of work continuing at night on the Marriott on 27th Street between 37th and 38th avenues.

"I'm thrilled that tourism is booming in New York and that the demand for hotel rooms is high," he said in a statement. "But we can't have 12-story hotels next to one-family homes. We need zoning in this neighborhood that will prevent more hotels from being built."

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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