Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tale of Two Neighborhoods: Battling Dangerous Demolitions by youtube, Blog & Phone Call

Today's Daily News takes note of some of the bitter development fights in the South Slope and in Greenwood Heights, comparing the youtube and blogging approach of the Greenwood Heights residents with the more traditional calls made to the Department of Buildings by Bensonhurst residents. A bit on the battle on 22nd Street:
A Greenwood Heights man is filming a construction site's alleged asbestos violations and posting them on YouTube, while a Bensonhurst group facing a similar problem is loudly voicing concerns to city agencies.

Aaron Brashear has been videotaping a construction site at 338 22ndSt., which he charges has hazardous working conditions, including asbestos. He then puts the footage on the Internet...City officials said they are monitoring the site but have not written any violations. "The department understands the neighbors' concerns and we appreciate the efforts and urge them to call 311 in addition to the videotaping," Buildings Department spokeswoman Kate Lindquist said.

The city Department of Environmental Protection said the asbestos allegations are "under consideration" and that a ruling may come as early as today. If it is found, the contractor, Knockout Construction, could be slapped with multiple fines.
Meanwhile, in Bensonhurst:
In Bensonhurst, angry neighbors of an asbestos-tainted demolition site have taken a more traditional approach - hounding city agencies.

The site at 2084 60th St. has been dormant for over a year after the Buildings Department issued a stop-work order due to demolition without a permit. When a complaint about asbestos was filed earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Protection inspected the site. "Asbestos was found in the vinyl floor tiling," agency spokesman Ian Michaels said, but the asbestos is unlikely to get into the air because the tiling "holds the asbestos really well."
Slight advantage to the youtube and blog approach.

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