By Jon Cronin
In an ever expanding hardship for the Yeshiva Godolah Seminary on the 88th Street in Glendale, the Department of Buildings has issued a partial vacate order for the site.
DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler wrote in a statement, “During a recent inspection of 74-10 88th St., we discovered the presence of 392 beds on site with little or no required life-safety protections, including sprinkler systems that had been disabled or covered over, obstructed building exits, and significant alterations to the building that had been performed without permits. To protect the property’s occupants, the Department took immediate action to vacate the premises last week.”
He noted that the DOB recently “audited the Certificate of Occupancy for the property, issued in 2008, and found that it was approved in error.” He said the auditors “believe the term “dorm” on the Certificate of Occupancy was not supported by the submitted plans for the property.”
The Yeshiva vacated portions of 74-10 88th St., as well as the adjacent building at 83-14 72nd Drive. The DOB stated those sites had life safety violations that were not resolved. Chandler stated, “The order will remain in place until the hazardous conditions, and the use of the building contrary to the Certificate of Occupancy, among other violations, are remediated by the property owner. We are working closely with the property owners to address these conditions.”
The DOB also reports that this order allows the lecture hall and cafeteria to be used because hazardous conditions there have been remediated.
Gary Giordano, district manager for Community Board 5, said the vacate order was executed last Friday afternoon. He didn’t know how many students were still on premises and as of Monday he hadn’t heard any complaints about busing.
“A big concern,” he said was, “lack of fire protection for the site.” He added, “God forbid a fire. The main concern is how would they safeguard those students and vacate them as might be necessary.”
Regarding the Yeshiva’s plans to expand, Giordano said, “I would think it’s going to make it more difficult for the Yeshiva to obtain their proposed variance.”
The Yeshiva was built in 2006 and was met then with community opposition. In the years since they have added dorms that sleep 350 students: a surprise to the community until this past September when they asked for a variance to expand adding dorms that would sleep over 700 students. The idea was met with vociferous community opposition and voted down by CB 5, citing the expansion would be uncharacteristic in the residential community.
Emails to the property manager Abraham Markowitz, who has been noted to be a good community member and liaison for the Yeshiva, and to the Yeshiva’s attorney Jay Goldstein in Brooklyn were not returned as of press time.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin