Dyker Heights confronts DOB - Residents detail litany of woes plaguing the community

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Residents of Dyker Heights questioned the Department of Buildings (DOB) Deputy Borough Commissioner of Operations about dilapidated buildings, vacant lots and unsafe scaffolding at the last Dyker Heights Civic Association meeting before the fall.

“We invited the DOB because members have had questions regarding properties in the neighborhood going down, coming up, and whether buildings are up to code and meeting the new zoning requiremen­ts,” said Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association.

This month’s meeting, held at St. Philip’s Church (80th Street and 11th Avenue) on June 9, focused on building violations and an update from the office of the Acting Buildings Commis-sioner Robert LiMandri, who took over after former Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resigned over safety concerns this past April.

“Our main focus is safety,” said Bryan M. Winter, the Department of Buildings Deputy Borough Commissioner of Operations. “Our men and women work extremely hard to be stewards of the buildings and enforce the building code as best we can.”

One of the most significant issues residents brought up involved netting and scaffolding. Several buildings on commercial strips in Dyker Heights have been dropping debris onto the street recently, which prompted residents to ask about safety regulations.

“If you see debris falling on a sidewalk and you call 311, you will see results in 48 hours,” said Winter.

Another resident raised concerns about a school building with scaffolding that has been up for a year and a half. Winter said that any issue regarding school property falls under the jurisdiction of the School Construction Authority, and advised the resident to contact the SCA for their complaint.

Other residents expressed concerns about buildings that were leaning into the ground, curb cuts and dilapidated buildings filled with refuse. Winter said that his inspectors monitor zoning issues and inspect buildings to determine whether the proper permits have been issued.

After each complaint, Winter and other DOB officials took down addresses of the sites, promising to address them.

“Your rezoning and Bay Ridge’s rezoning have addressed a lot of those issues,” Winter said. “If you see something, let us know and call 311.”

Vella-Marrone was encouraged by the lively participation of her members in the buildings forum and brought up the issue regarding the occupancy of a building while the building is under construction, which she has noticed in Dyker Heights in the past.

“It is a violation and they could have fines of thousands of dollars,” Winter said. “Nobody is going to jail but we have gone after people criminally for related issues.”

For more information about the Dyker Heights Civic Association, visit http://www.dykerheights.com/heightscivic.html.

Updated 3:48 pm, October 19, 2011
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