A group of Queens Village residents gathered last week to bring attention to construction that is destroying homes in their neighborhood.
Among those who attended were City Councilmember Leroy Comrie, New York State Committeewoman Joan Flowers and Assemblyman William Scarborough.
The meeting took place on Friday, June 11 at 215-12 Murdock Avenue — the house of Lourdes Dorce, a Queens Village resident since 1973 who says that the construction taking place near her house is causing major damage to her property.
“It is an outrage what is being done to this woman,” Scarborough said.
On January 11 of this year, Dorce claims she woke up to loud construction noises and looked out her window to see bull dozers and other construction equipment on a 13-foot strip of land which adjoins the side of her house. On the other side of this 13-foot strip of land is a commercial space that had been occupied by a supermarket for the past 34 years.
According to neighbors, the Associated Market that had been there had been “pushed out” by the owner of the property. The owner, Bert Wohl, has leased the former supermarket to a Family Dollar Store, and as part of the lease agreement, agreed to provide an enclosed loading dock. That loading dock is allegedly being built on that 13-foot strip of land next to Dorce’s house.
She claims she hadn’t received any notice of construction and immediately called 3-1-1 and the police. A stop work order was issued. That stop work order was covered up and the construction continued. Dorce continued to complain to the Department of Buildings (DOB).
Soon she had a huge hole in her foundation, which caused horrible flooding in her basement. Next, she claims, a backhoe chipped off some of the bricks encasing her chimney. Then a concrete retaining wall on her property was allegedly removed by the construction crew.
Whenever it rains, now Dorce’s basement floods, as well as the basements of all the adjoining attached homes next to hers and behind hers. The shared alley way behind the home was designed to allow the water to flow into drainage onto the 13-foot strip of land that adjoins her home. The hole in her basement and the subsequent flooding has undermined the foundation of her home, and her newly-constructed back porch and staircase are now at a tilt.
Her neighbor, Hortence Edwards, can’t use her own garage because she had to have a concrete barrier placed due to the fact that the garage would flood when it rained and then her basement would fill with water.
Dorce alleged that she has received five summons from the DOB, totaling hundreds of dollars.
A full stop work order has now been issued by the DOB, plus a violation not only for working in violation of the stop order, but for failure to provide approval plans at the site.
The owner/builder of the adjacent property is suing Dorce with an “Order to Show Cause” on why they should not be allowed to come on her property to continue the building of this structure.
Dorce allegedly had an engineering company do an inspection of her home and they found that the integrity of her home has been seriously compromised and since this is a row of attached homes, any damage to her home will cause a domino effect along the entire block of attached homes.