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Back off! Gerritsen Beachers: We’re overrun by Build it Back!

Brooklyn Daily
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They just can’t win.

Brooklynites have complained since Hurricane Sandy that the Build it Back disaster recovery program moved too slowly, but now that Mayor DeBlasio re-doubled the city’s efforts and set a self-imposed deadline to fix everyone’s homes, Gerritsen Beachers say they’re flooded with salty construction workers who are making their lives a living hell.

“We’re being overrun with the Build it Back constructi­on,” said Yolanda Fazzuoli, who has four construction sites on her block alone. “It’s like a war zone here. It’s making life very difficult.”

Convoys of contractors block the neighborhood’s famously narrow streets from 7 am to 4 pm, making it impossible for residents to get in or out of the peninsular neighborhood’s many dead-end blocks, she said. Worse yet, the city-hired laborers aren’t respecting the very taxpayers they’re supposed to be serving, another resident said.

“The past few mornings it’s been terrible — I’ve gotten into screaming matches with them,” said Brittany Mescall, who claimed the laborers are leaving garbage everywhere. “They don’t care. They’re obnoxious. They block the middle of the street, so when I’m trying to get out, they’re in the middle of the street.”

Residents should only expect the pace of construction to pick up as the program nears its end-of-the-year deadline to repair all single-family homes impacted by the 2012 storm, said Amy Peterson, who directs the city-run, federally-funded recovery effort.

“As we head towards the goal of completing the program by Dec. 31, we are moving more and more homes into construction each day,” she said. “We are coordinating daily with civic associations, local elected officials, and our contractors to make sure that there is minimal disruption, and where there have been complaints we are addressing them quickly,” she said.

The program, started under former mayor Mike Bloomberg, was fraught from the get-go with ineffective case workers and unqualified contractors who soaked the city for millions.

Residents contend the city is not dealing with complaints as well as Peterson claims — it has been about three months since Fazzuoli first started lodging complaints to the city, she said.

“I called 311, and when they came, the crews were gone, so they said the matter is resolved — everybody is in compliance — and that was it,” she said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Reader feedback

Jessica Semler from Gerritsen beach says:
I'm having issues with build it back as well .. 3 weeks ago during that bad rain storm we had one of my bedroom ceiling caved in .. This has been and ongoing roof leak since sandy and they have been well aware of the problem since day one .. With each passing storm it got worse and worse finally having falling down unleashing 3 years of black mold into my home build it back has since speed up the process and begun work however as of today we've yet again hit another road block and I was Informed that I may have to wait weeks even months because the amount of work that has to be done was not in the original scope of work and now has to be revised and "that takes time" I was told .. So now I'm living in a home filled with black mold having nose bleeds everyday I have an infant and a senior living here breathing this garbage in everyday ..
March 14, 2016, 2:08 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Jessica Semler I heard you speak at the community meeting a few weeks back and my heart goes out to you and many of the other residents that still live in a life of turmoil. Because of this horrible event and what makes this especially disheartening is that in City Hall, Albany and in Washington life and partying goes on while it's citizens suffer from an event that they had no control over. Having said that I take exception to this article because it gives the impression that we are a non-caring community. I don't know if Yolanda Fazzuoli was a resident here during the October 2012 disaster but I doubt that she was because of the lack of compassion she is showing for her neighbors that are still in such desperate need. Perhaps she has a family and support group that was able to come to her aid soon after the floods and got her house back into livable conditions but for many of us that was not the case. To see this article in print that people are complaining of the inconvenience of getting their car around work crews is not only callous it's reprehensible. Yolanda when you see that construction is taken place on your block why don't you just park your car around the corner and walk a few feet instead of complaining to outsiders so eager to print negativity about our community.
March 14, 2016, 3:43 pm
Patrick Minze from Gerritsen Beach says:
Let me tell you about being inconvenienced. My house was wiped out by Sandy and I have been paying a mortgage and rent for 3 years. I am finally got some traction on getting my house done, and someone calls 311 and DOB every day. I understand you feel inconvenienced but a lot of families have been inconvenienced for over 3 years and are getting their lives back. I think as a neighbourhood we pull together and put up with some inconveniences for the next year so that our friends can get our lives back to some normalcy.
March 14, 2016, 7:25 pm
Melissa from Non-resident says:
I don't live here but I did. How shameful this article is even entertained! These people have been displaced or living in horrible conditions for so very long. The city took too long getting this going and now it's being aggressively sped up. It's not the residents fault that so much of this construction is occurring at one time. How selfish do you have to be to complain about the work being done to get families back in their homes? Your home is perfect and unharmed so you make a hardship for your NEIGHBORS? Disgraceful. These people complaining are disgraceful and so is this news source for suggesting these folks are inconvenienced for the sake of the rebuilding of their own community.
March 15, 2016, 11:03 am
jack from Gerritsen Beach says:
the money is not being spent right the only people making out is the contractor Friends of the politicians
March 27, 2016, 1:17 pm

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