Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

PM Update: Veto of Building Inspection Measure Angers Brennan

August 29th, 2007 · 1 Comment

(RIP, CBGB founder Hilly Kristal, who has died at the age of 75 from cancer. Mr. Kristal ran CBGB’s for three decades, until it was forced to close last October.)

You might have noted this morning that Gov. Eliot Spitzer vetoed a bill yesterday to require more inspections by the Department of Buildings of structures and projects cited for hazardous requirements. Currently, DOB is only required to check buildings deemed an imminent hazard.

Assem. Jim Brennan, who authored the measures and others that would address construction and development-related problems in the city, issued a press release saying that it is “highly regrettable that Governor Spitzer chose to let the New York City Department of Buildings off the hook in relation to a change in the accountability of the Department for enforcing the building code of the City of New York.” He suggested that enforcement of the building code “has gross shortcomings.”

Brennan’s bill would have required DOB to reinspect buildings cited for hazardous conditions every two months until the problem was fixed. The current time frame can stretch up to four months. Mayor Bloomberg urged a veto of the bill saying that it would be too burdensome for the Buildings Department and that the added inspections could cost up to $4 million.

Mr. Brennan told the New York Times that he introduced his bill in April after seeing a “longstanding disregard for public safety,” including many issues in his own district in neighborhoods such as Park Slope. He told the Times: “A common theme of these accidents, injuries and deaths are violations that have been issued by the Buildings Department and not been enforced.”

Ironically, there is a story in today’s Daily News by Jotham Sederstrom about the huge increase in construction and development-related complaints in Greenpoint, Williamsburg and downtown Brooklyn. Construction-related 911 calls alone–which mean actual accidents and injuries–are up 300 percent since 2003.

BONUS: Speaking of the Department of Buildings and disregard for inspections and paperwork, newyorkshitty reports DOB inspectors might be interested in the work going on at 48 Box Street in violation of a Stop Work Order. At least, that’s what the photos would seem to indicate.

Tags: Construction Issues · PM Update

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Dope On The Slope // Aug 29, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    More inspections?

    That might help detect violations, but what is really needed is holding violators accountable. Penalties need to be swift, certain and uniformly applied.

    This veto is less about managing the Department of Buildings’ operating cost or workload, and more about not pissing off the powers that be in the New York Real estate developer’s clique — don’t forget Spitzer’s dad, the funder of his career, was a member in good standing.

    Enforcing building codes would be bad for bidness – unless, of course, such enforcement were needed as a pretext for “blight” designation to secure difficult to acquire parcels in a developer welfare project. Then you’d see some concern about unsafe conditions.

    The whole system is rotten to the core. Time for a reboot.