On January 14, residents observed construction workers at 78-16 Cooper Avenue apparently removing asbestos-filled tiles late at night. The incident was caught on video and shared with a private Facebook page for the neighborhood.
The residents filed complaints with 311, which were logged with the Department of Buildings. They say the work was being done without a permit, potentially putting the workers in danger.
Councilman Bob Holden, who has worked to convert the site into a school instead, shared with the community that the Department of Environmental Protection issued a stop work order until they could test whether there was asbestos on site.
The illegal activity calls into question why work was being rushed on the manufacturing site.
According to Community Board 5 members, permits have already been filed for offices and residences at the property.
The site received those permits as soon as the city signed a measure allowing transient hotels to be built on M-1 zones, which are meant for light manufacturing.
The text amendment was pushed by the City Council in an effort to preserve manufacturing spaces and limit the number of hotels built in those areas. But the “transient use” clause created suspicions, particularly among communities that have been fighting off homeless shelter proposals.
Community Board 5, which includes Glendale, voted against the M1 hotel text amendment last year.
The board will likely observe the illegal activity and its implications for the Glendale site more closely moving forward.