BY SAM RAPPAPORT
The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has padlocked a residential lot on 24th Avenue between 149th Street and 150th Street in Whitestone that was being illegally used for commercial storage.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) had been petitioning multiple city agencies for nearly three years to have the lot closed. The site had been an area of concern for neighbors, who complained about a multitude of hazards emanating from the tract of land.
“I was very happy to learn that this nuisance was finally padlocked after years of requests from myself and neighbors who wanted to see something done,” Avella said. “Padlocking certainly does not completely eliminate the problems created by the illegal commercial use of the lot, but this will certainly protect the community from a number of hazardous conditions created by the illegal storage.”
The lot is owned by Whitestone contractor Salvatore Valenza and was being used to store trucks, construction equipment and debris, despite being located in a residential zone and situated directly between two residential properties.
Nearby residents complained about the loud, early-morning growls of truck engines and the unsanitary conditions of the lot’s strewn construction debris.
Avella held a press conference at the location in 2016 during which he demanded that action be taken to stop Valenza’s use of the lot.
“The owner egregiously flouts the law by storing their commercial trucks and construction materials including gravel, bricks, wood and tools inside the lot, which is conducive to a rodent infestation as well as a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Avella said at that time.
The DOB contacted Avella last week to notify him that the lot had finally been cleared of all construction equipment and the entrance padlocked to prevent further use.
“I am relieved that after all of this disregard for the law, the city of New York has finally stepped in to take action,” Avella said.
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.