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Rooftop Oasis Fined by the DOB

Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Country Living

David Puchkoff's rooftop cabin and garden in the West Village (image via Google Maps)

Jan. 11, 2018

Those inspectors at the Department of Buildings (DOB) are no fun. Just ask David Puchkoff. The West Village resident has filed papers in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming the DOB has wrongly ordered him to pay  $1,200 fine and obtain a new certificate of occupancy – because, the city claims, Puchkoff’s 15-year-old cabin and garden on the roof of his Greenwich Street co-op building do not meet the building code, the Daily News  reports

Puchkoff, 78, carved out his slice of country living in the heart of the big city way back in 2003, and he has paperwork from the city approving his plans. He suspects a neighbor complained about his rooftop retreat, with its porch swing, Japanese maples, and view of the Empire State Building. The roof of the six-story, brick building is covered in seven inches of soil and layers of padding that provide water for plants and protect the roof, according to a 2006 story in the New York Times. Birds, bees and other bugs are a frequent presence at the meadow in warmer weather. 

Puchkoff estimates the legal fight could cost him $30,000 – if it ends in his favor. He’s seeking an order overturning an Environmental Control Board decision imposing the penalty. 

“It isn't fair, I've already met all the rules and regulations,” Puchkoff says. “Somebody doesn't like it. Why would a neighbor file a complaint about it? It's been there for 15 years.”

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