State Senator Tony Avella and residents of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association protest outside a large single-family home on Thursday.
State Senator Tony Avella was joined by concerned residents and members of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association to protest the construction of an alleged single-family home at 35-20 156th Street.
The home, which is currently under a stop-work order due to minor building codes violations, will have 14 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, according to Avella. The fear: this site, once a hotel for transients, will be a hotel once again after construction is complete.
“This has been the site of one continuous problem after another,” Avella said, standing in front of the home.
Avella said there is, of course, a chance that it could be a single-family home, but he doesn’t believe that to be the case.
“It’s more likely that we’re back to the original problem of a multi-family house or hotel,” he said.
The property was originally cited in 2006 for operating as a transient hotel, but managed to remain open and functional by making minor adjustments, according to Avella.
“The owner of this property has a history of breaking the law by continuing to use this house for whatever he pleases, rather than what zoning regulations mandate,” Avella said. “We will not stand by and watch this property be turned into an illegal hotel that disrupts the loves of each and every one of the residents in the neighborhood.”
According to the New York City Department of Buildings’ website, the property has over 50 open complaints, 43 of which were prior to the current owner, Qiujian Yang, taking control of the property in October of 2013.
In published reports, the Yang family has said that they plan to live there once the renovations are complete.
The property sits within an R2 residential zone that allows for one-family houses.
Paul Graziano, a local urban planning expert who’s looked over the plans, questioned one key aspect.
“The first floor has a reception area.” Graziano said. “Single-family homes do not have a reception area.”
Avella plans to introduce legislation in the State Seante that would allow the Department of Buildings in New York City to access to any structure when they receive a complaint. Currently, the department must get an access warrant after receiving a reported violation.
The department has stated that they will take no further action against the project until it is complete and can be fully inspected, according to Avella.
“It is obvious that [Department of Buildings] needs additional tools,” said Robert Hanophy, Jr., president of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowner’s Association. “They are powerless to inspect this structure that has a front desk, 14 guest rooms and eight bathrooms and are bound to accept the owner’s statement that it is a ‘single-family home’ when they have repeated violations over the years regarding its use as an illegal transient hotel.”