With the national housing market picking up and more buildings likely to be built or finished in his east Bronx district, local City Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he is stepping up his vigilance of inactive worksites.
The biggest recent case in point, a collapsed worksite fence around a home construction site in Throggs Neck that he recently got the city to fix.
“I think we have to be vigilant once again and check all of the building department applications and make sure that the zoning is obeyed,” said Vacca.
Neighbors expressed concern to Vacca’s office about the fence that collapsed at 817 Hollywood Ave. The collapse left wooden boards strewn on the outskirts of a large parcel of land with an unfinished building that had been under construction before work stopped several years ago.
Vacca said he had been monitoring the site prior to the reports of the fence collapse, since the original plans on a two-family house being built there did not comply with the area downzoning’s parking requirements.
Vaccan and others helped put the requirements in place in the area between 2004 and 2006.
“All the boards have fallen,” said Vacca, shortly before he alerted the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which hired a contractor to complete emergency work in late-January.
“It is a complete mess and I have asked the city to go and restore the boards and give the owner the bill,” said Vacca.
Department of Buildings records show more than $25,000 in unpaid fines and a stop work order in place because of the fines.
Some of the violations include “lack of protection for the public or property during excavation activities,” and a Nov. 26, 2012 complaint for failure to maintain the collapsed job fence.
According to DOB records, the owner is listed as Joseph Noriega Sr., with only a P.O. Box as a contact for him on several documents. He could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Community Board 10 chairman John Marano who lives nearby said he was glad to see the property re-secured.
“This has been an eyesore for the longest time,” said Marano. “I would like the owner of the property to take responsibility if he ran out of money, or whatever the reason may be.”
Marano said in such cases, the DOB and the banks, who may hold mortgages, must work to make sure fines are paid and that work can proceed. “If they are not going to rebuild it and not finish it, they should make it safe for the people who live around it,” he said.
“Who would want to live next door to an abandoned property?”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393