Project halted by DOB

While the work-site at the former Finkle Estate is now secured, questions still remain as to when work can be completed on the newly constructed homes. - Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The sale of the five large homes on the property of the former Finkle Estate in Country Club, which are practically completed, may take a long time if the Department of Buildings’ issues are not resolved quickly.

The site is now secured, as the builders seem to be pondering their next move.

According to sources, the sudden realization by the DOB that the homes built on a private road called Teddy Place, which extend southerly from Rawlins Avenue, do not conform to the area’s stringent R-2 zoning, has brought the project to a halt.

Neighbors had been concerned about possible vandalism at the site, as windows on the homes were left open, and a door on the property was seen to be ajar.

“The property is now secured, and all the windows are closed,” said Marcia Anne Pavlica, president of the Country Club Civic Association. 

According to zoning requirements, front and side yards in R-2 zones must be planted, based on street frontage, ranging from 20% for narrow lots less than 20-feet wide, up to 50% for lots 60-feet wide. The $800,000 plus single-family homes have large frontages, but the side and back yards are not meeting those requirements.

According to sources, now the Bronx office of the Department of Buildings is working with the developer to bring the project into conformity with the area’s zoning. 

DOB’s decision to work with the developer suggests that the builder may avoid having to tear at least one of the buildings down, as rumors in the community recently suggested. 

Still, neighbors of the project are left with five vacant properties they consider to be in Limbo.   

 “This is just another example of an architect bilking both community and builder alike by self-certifying poor plans,”  Pavlica noted. “These are zoning questions we as an organization have asked the DOB from the beginning. This is an enormously big financial goof for the builders.” 

Pavlica stated that DOB should have done a complete audit before the construction began, and since that didn’t happen, the community is now left with an eyesore of unfinished homes.

There are currently five active DOB violations at each of the homes, 1-5 Teddy Place, for “construction contrary or beyond approved permits or plans.” However, the DOB appears to have issued no official stop work orders.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office is working on the case, and is looking at various solutions to get the homes completed as soon as possible, with some residents noting some unsafe conditions due to the work stoppage. 

“A next door neighbor to the property has had a construction fence collapse into his backyard, and he has small grandchildren who play on his property,” Pavlica stated. 

That neighbor, who does not wish to be identified by name, also feels that construction fence is partially on his lot.

“Workers were here last week and fixed the boards on the fence,” said the neighbor. “But, I think when the next large wind comes along, they are going to come down again.”

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