Don’t mess with Councilman Jimmy Vacca – or leave a mess.
The east Bronx councilman has stepped in – again – to stop illegal work and get a Throggs Neck property cleaned and secured.
Vacca was notified by neighbors that piles of building debris had been left in the yard of a house at 3669 E. Tremont Avenue for weeks after some recent interior demolition work.
Neighbors on Philip Avenue called 311, one said, but the debris was not moved. Sanitation even came to the site, said one neighbor who wanted to be identified only as Carl.
Since the debris was located on private property, Sanitation was prohibited from taking it away, said a city official. The Department of Health would have to be called, but it did not reach that point, said Vacca.
When Vacca checked-in with the Department of Buildings, he found no permits had been issued for interior demolition work, so DOB issued a Stop Work Order, he said.
“The bottom line is that this is another instance of someone who thinks they can go ahead and do what they want and not have permits,” said Vacca. “I am committed to make sure that we dot the i’s and cross the t’s, People have to obey the law when it comes to development.”
The latest Stop Work Order is part of Vacca’s continuing effort to hold developers accountable to zoning regs.
Since the start of July, he has gotten Stop Work Orders, projects put on hold, and/or Notices to Revoke permits at seven additional properties in his district, including at 3064 Buhre Avenue, 1816 Edison Avenue, 1434 Williamsbridge Road, 3758 E. Tremont Avenue, 1158 Edison Avenue, 1165 Crosby Avenue and 1400 Crosby Avenue.
Eventually, after speaking with the owner, a spokesman for Vacca said that the contractor cleaned up the building debris – literally piled about six feet high, said the neighbor.
“The debris just kept building and building,” said the neighbor Carl. “Eventually, we saw a possum on the property.”
Vacca said that a conversation with the buildings’s owner, listed in a city Department of Finance deed transfer from February 2005 as Barry Baker of Scarsdale, N.Y., ended with a promise to clean up and then a hang up.
Vacca also said that the owner of record was not clear in the computer, with Rose Marco listed as owning the property on the DOB complaint.
Baker’s purchase of the property for $300,000 several years ago is the last record on it in the city Department of Finance system.
Vacca said that he believes that Baker is the owner.
Dr. Baker, proprietor of White House Medical on E. Tremont and Philip Avenues, did not comment as of press time after several calls, saying only that his neighbor lived there. A call to Rose Marco’s phone listing did not yield comment.
With the garbage cleared and the owner now having to apply for the proper permits so the community can know exactly what is going on, Vacca said he will press on.
“Unless you get permits, what you are doing is NOT transparent,” he said of the owner. “How do you those of us in the neighborhood know what you are doing?”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393