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2006-10-19 / Top Stories

Permit Cancelled On Canarsie Road Excavation Site

By Charles Rogers

Buildings Dept. Inspector Mark Milik points out the inadequate shoring. Excavation on the grounds of a new house to be built at 1610 Canarsie Road was abruptly stopped by officials of the City Department of Buildings last week when it was discovered digging at the site was a danger to the occupants of the house next door.

Work was stopped when Eldora Phillips, who owns the house at 1608 Canarsie Road, complained that her house "rumbled" and seemed to literally move as digging machinery allegedly struck concrete bordering her basement a week ago, according to her daughter Yvonne Bryan.

"My mother was awakened at about 6 a.m. on Saturday, October 8 when she felt the house shaking," said Bryan. "She told me it felt like there was an earthquake." She said she was with her mother when the older woman went to the yard and told the workers they were digging into her property and she wanted them to stop.

"I had been to meetings of the community board and the local civic association where they had been telling us about who we should contact in case of such things and I called 311," said Bryan. "Right away they got me the Buildings Department and the work permit for the site was cancelled."

Assemblyman Alan Maisel, left, confers with Inspector Milik and Inspec-tor Michael Payne of OSHA. Charles Rogers The civic group she alluded to is the Canarsie South Civic Association.

"For some reason, though," she continued, "the cancellation was rescinded in the middle of the week and, when they started working again and the house began to shake, we called the offices of our elected officials, who contacted the Buildings Department directly and, by this past weekend, the permits were cancelled again. But we were still scared our house was going to be destroyed."

The elected officials are State Assemblyman Alan Maisel and City Councilman Lew Fidler.

Monday, Maisel and Fidler contacted authorities and urged them to take action that would be of a more permanent nature. Maisel met with City Building Inspector Mark Milik at the site on Monday. Milik viewed the scene and determined the excavation should be closed to further construction pending the shoring of both sides of the excavation.

In an exclusive interview with the Canarsie Courier , Milik said this case is not unusual nowadays.

"We've found more of it in, say, East New York, but Canarsie has incidents too," the housing inspector said. "But new developments are going up everywhere, from here to Manhattan. Everyone wants to benefit from the boom!"

Michael Payne, an inspector from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was also on hand to check out the site to see that it was safe for the construction workers. He agreed with the findings that more shoring would be necessary.

Thomas Cusanelli, the developer, according to Buildings Department authorities, did not return calls from the Canarsie Courier.

Bryan said she was pleased with the response from the inspectors.

"I guess when you know your rights and you know the right people to contact, it really helps," she said. "Developers are building here because Canarsie is a prime investment now and people have to know their rights and who to contact if necessary.

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