For the first time in nearly a year, Ana Giardullo and her family got a great night’s sleep.
For nearly 11 months an MRI van had been illegally parked next to her back yard off Mace Avenue, its cooling unit about as loud as an airplane during takeoff.
On Sunday, September 12, the van’s owner, who was facing a city-ordered padlock deadline, dismantled it and took it away.
“It was a beautiful night. Everyone is so glad,” Giardullo said. “When I look out there now, I think, it’s gone. I’m just so happy and everyone in the neighborhood is so happy.”
The owner of the facility, Fitore Realty LLC, had recently signed an agreement with the city Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings to remove the van or the city would padlock it and remove it at the company’s expense. The deadline for removal was September 14.
According to Giardullo, the van had been parked behind the medical facility at 1500 Mace Avenue since October, blasting its gas-powered AC unit.
A spokeswoman with the Department of Buildings said the city started receiving complaints from neighbors about the noisy van in January. In February the department inspected the facility and found that the van was in violation of commercial district zoning regulations.
City officials began filing summonses against the property owners, and in July the DOB sent a letter to Fitore warning them the trailer would be locked if its illegal use did not stop.
On Monday, September 13, the department did a follow up investigation and confirmed that the van had been removed and the property was now in compliance.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said getting the van removed is a victory for the neighborhood.
“We are very pleased, especially that he removed it himself before the deadline, so buildings department didn’t have to padlock it,” he said.
Vacca, along with Senator Jeff Klein, put pressure on the city and owners to remove the van because of the violations.
“After months of persistence, I am relieved that the owner of this facility came into compliance. This facility snuck into the community under our noses and was a severe quality of life and noise issue for the Giardullos and the Pelham Gardens Community,” Senator Klein said. “It’s a big win and sends a clear message to questionable business owners that if you engage in practices that threaten our quality of life, we fight back.”
According to Giardullo, the van was too large to simply drive away and had to be dismantled, which took about seven hours, she observed. Giardullo said, “The noise is still in my head,” she said.