The city demolished a pesky vacant house in Zerega after a wall collapsed in October.
The house at 1629 Parker Street racked up $65,000 in buildings and housing violations for abandonment and structural issues before the wall crumbled and brought the Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development to the scene. DOB and HPD marked the house for demolition. Some of the debris from the collapse landed in a neighbor’s yard.
The house had been the subject of Department of Buildings complaints since 1996, when it first appeared on the radar of then Community Board 10 district manager Jimmy Vacca. Vacca, elected to the City Council years later, was delighted to hear about the demolition and stopped by Parker Street to witness some of work firsthand.
“This house has been a disaster for as long as I can remember,” Vacca said. “Countless times as district manager I would pick up the phone and get this house sealed, re-sealed and re-sealed again. The city finally woke up to the fact that this property was not only an eyesore, but a public safety hazard as well. I think I speak on behalf of the entire Zerega community when I say, ‘Good riddance.’”
In 1996, neighbors complained that the empty house was open to the public. It was sealed by the city and then re-sealed. Complaints about the structural integrity of a wall were logged as early as 2001.
In 2001 and 2002, the Environmental Control Board issued nine violations for “failure to maintain an exterior building wall” to the house’s owner, listed as Margaret Colwell, Colwell Management and Amalia Devito. The fines, still unpaid, totaled $60,000.
The collapse in October resulted from years of neglect and led to a tenth ECB violation for “failure to maintain the building in a code-compliant manner.”
“[The house] really has been a problem for 20 years,” neighbor Dorothy Krynicki said. “An investigation showed that real estate taxes had been paid, so nothing could be done. Apparently the owner was in a nursing home in Florida.”
Krynick cheered when the house was turned into rubble.
“I am glad to see it torn down,” she said. ”It was a hazard and an eyesore.”
Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@c
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