Fence site blues

The site of former Finkle Mansion, set to become the private road Teddy Place featuring five detached homes, has been maintained since construction was halted. Complaints from neighbors have reported littering and vandalism at the property. Changes from summer 2008 to January 2009 include the addition of gravel along the once dirt road and a plywood fence.

The fence is temporary, but its construction is anything but. The elaborate steel and wood enclosure, protecting the 5-building development off Rawlins Avenue in Country Club from graffiti and vandalism, may foretell the immediate future of the long-stalled project. The property, designated as 1-5 Teddy Place, may be far away from receiving the approvals it needs to get completed.

A stop work order was issued and remains in effect for the location of the former Finkle Mansion. The 90% finished homes were discovered to be noncompliant with the city’s stringent R-2 zoning’s back and side yard requirement.

The homes will continue to remain vacant while the NYC Department of Buildings and the property developer come up with a solution. An unlikely alternative would be to receive a variance or waiver on the project, both requiring the developer to provide proof that financial hardship requires that he complete the project as soon as possible.

Neighbors are growing impatient with the project as vandalism continues to haunt the development.

On November 24, a complaint was issued against the location regarding the state of the work fence which had been pulled down, allowing easy access to the construction site.

Residents reported people entering the area, seeing lights left on in the vacant homes, and people using it as a dumping ground for unwanted items, including two televisions.

The property owner recently tried to remedy these problems by installing a wood panel fence, over newly installed steel posts, which remains locked and secured to prevent any future incidents or complaints at the location.

“It is common to have plywood panels put up along the front,” said Marcia Pavlica, president of the Country Club Civic Association.

“I personally preferred the chain link fence because you could see what was going on in there, the neighbor would keep watch on the place.”

Since the installation of the new fence Pavlica has reported seeing construction equipment and a backhoe, with no explanation or understanding of what they would be used for.

“About a week ago it seemed like they started a clean-up,” said Pavlica, who noticed new gravel had been placed to improve the site’s appearance. “The stop work order precludes them doing further construction inside but I don’t know if it prevents them from maintaining the outside.”

Whatever may be going on within the site, community members hope a resolution will be reached soon, but are happy the site seems to be maintained.

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