Even as the walls continue to rise, residents of Castle Hill are trying to find ways to stop the construction of a Days Inn in their back yard.
Concerns over the impact the 60-plus unit project at 2338 Bruckner Boulevard could have on the quiet residential neighborhood has a local civic group pleading with the Department of Building to stop construction due to the developer allegedly not following the zoning laws.
Last fall, the Castle Hill Neighborhood Betterment Associations formed to fight the hotel, which local residents feel could bring a host of problems ranging from prostitution, parking issues and declining property values, said CNBA president Hector Soto.
“We’re concerned about how its going to impact us,” said Soto. “We just don’t see anything positive this will bring here.”
After a push from the community and elected officials to look into zoning violations for the ‘as of right’ project, the DOB issued a temporary stop work order, which was celebrated by electeds, but lifted soon after.
An April letter from Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Luis Selpulveda and Soto called for a new stop work order regarding procedures followed by the developer as well as discrepancies between the approved plans and zoning resolutions.
“These issues led us then and lead us now to believe that the applicant’s plans have been approved in error,” it reads.
The DOB has not communicated with the CNBA any satisfactory reason for lifting the stop work order, according to the letter.
“The continuing lack of tangible evidence and/or explanation to demonstrate the project is in compliance with all applicable zoning resolution, code and Multiple Dwelling Law requirements is counter-intuitive to your agency’s important role in ensuring compliant, responsible development in NYC.”
The CNBA will bring its request for answers directly to the DOB commissioner’s office with a demonstration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, outside 280 Broadway. The group will depart from Holy Family church at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, the association’s board is looking for legal avenues to pursue to halt the construction. They are also encouraging residents to be on the lookout for violations at the construction site to report to 311, to continue to hold the developer’s feet to the fire, said Soto.
They’re frustrated with the DOB commissioner’s lack of communication with the group and unwillingness to respond to what they feel are legitimate concerns.
“Everybody depends on the DOB,” said CNBA board member Nancy Rodriguez, but she feels the agency has failed the community.
“They’re allowing these people to come and build and ruin our neighborhood.”
Following concerns from local residents, the DPB conducted a full audit of this project, a spokesperson for the department said in a statement. After the applicant resolved objections related to the audit, the plans were determined to be in full compliance with all applicable Construction Codes and the NYC Zoning Resolution, and the job permitted to move forward.
“The Department will continue to work with the community should safety or compliance concerns arise at this work site,” they said.