A lawsuit in Brooklyn might be the long-awaited signal that the city is finally getting tough about removing ancient sidewalk sheds.
The Department of Buildings is taking the property owners of a Crown Heights apartment building to court after they allegedly failed to fix a 10-year-old, dilapidated sidewalk shed. The DOB filed a nuisance abatement case on Aug. 11 against the owners of 867 St. Marks Ave. in King’s County Supreme Court, Brooklyn Paper reports.
The case springs from the DOB's Long Standing Shed Program, which targets older sheds and pushes owners to make vital repairs. About 50 criminal and nuisance abatement court cases have been filed since the program started in 2019.
The St. Mark's building first appeared on DOB’s radar in 2013, when inspectors noticed cracks on the facade. The team issued a partial vacate order for the building that fall, noting the limestone walls on the third and fourth floors were cracked and bulging. DOB inspectors then ordered the building owner to install overhead protection, hire an engineer and make the necessary repairs.
The owners soon installed the sidewalk shed, and obtained permits for facade repairs and the installation of a supported scaffold in front of the location in 2015 and 2017; however, they allegedly never made the required repairs.
“The protective construction shed at 867 St. Marks Ave. has languished in place for almost 10 years, and during this time the property owners have done little to make the needed repairs at their building,” a DOB spokesperson said in a statement. “Not only have the owners allowed their building’s facade to further deteriorate during this time, but their failure to maintain the shed and scaffolding has now created new safety issues for both tenants and neighbors.”
Mayor Eric Adams’s new Get Sheds Down plan is designed to reduce the number of sheds in New York City by incentivizing building owners to make repairs and promptly remove sheds with expired permits.
Roughly 9,000 sheds covering almost 400 miles of sidewalks currently stand in New York City — in large part because of the Facade Inspection Safety Program, formerly known as Local Law 11, which requires owners of properties higher than six stories to have their building envelope inspected and repaired very five years.
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