For four years, Rego Park resident Kang Yuen and his family have been living in a house that frequently shakes and with noises that sound like a train consistently rolling by in the summertime due to a commercial−sized heating⁄air conditioning unit illegally installed on the roof by Yuen’s neighbors, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D−Whitestone) and Yuen said.
“In the summer, the air conditioner is on all day, and the house shakes all day,” Yuen said at a press conference Thursday. “I live here with my wife and two children, and we cannot enjoy life.”
Stavisky accused the city Department of Buildings of failing to enforce two stop−work orders issued in 2007 at 65−33 Alderton St., and she called on the city agency to go to housing court and obtain an order forcing the landlord to admit DOB inspectors into the home. Access to DOB inspectors has been denied several times, according to department records.
In addition to the commercial−sized heating⁄air−conditioning unit on the roof, the neighbor in 2005 built a larger addition to his house than he stated he would in plans filed with the DOB and installed a pool too close to the property line, according to DOB records.
“When they turn the air−conditioner on, it sounds like a subway going by,” said Kelly Yuen, Kang Yuen’s 21−year−old daughter.
The DOB has filed a total of 13 violations against the property, owned by Leonard Shirman.
Shirman has not filed a certificate of correction with the DOB for the violations, according to agency records.
A knock on the door at 65−33 Alderton St. went unanswered Thursday afternoon, and a woman who answered the phone listing for Shirman hung up several times on a reporter from this newspaper who asked for Shirman.
Shirman sued Yuen in 2005 for harassment after Yuen repeatedly told workers what they were building was illegal. Yuen, who has owned his home for 19 years, spent nearly $10,000 for a lawyer in the case that was dropped this December.
“The combination of intimidation and total disregard for the law is what bothers me,” Stavisky said.
“The residence must be habitable,” Stavisky added. “You can’t have people violate zoning, certificate of occupancy and all methods of ethical behavior. We have to make sure the DOB does what they’re supposed to do and make sure the violations are cleared up.”
DOB officials did not return phone calls for comment.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.
©2009 Community News Group
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