Hallelujah! No more early-morning demo for Fortis at Brooklyn LICH site

DOB shuts down noisy after-hours work at former Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill

February 17, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After complaints about early morning and late night demolition work at the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site in Cobble Hill, the city’s Department of Buildings said that no more after-hours variances would be issued. Photo by Mary Frost
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Cobble Hill residents heaved a collective sigh of relief over the news on Thursday that they will no longer be shaken awake early in the morning by noisy demolition at the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site.

Local officials received word from the city on Thursday informing them that no further after-hours variances (AHV) would be issued for any property on the LICH site, with the exception of safety work.

Neighbors had been tearing their hair out over the unnecessary early morning and late night work, complaining of excessive noise and airborne debris. The Department of Buildings (DOB) had approved seven days of variances that allowed contractors for Fortis Property Group to work from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

But residents said contractors had disregarded the variances’ rules and started work as early as 5 a.m.

Amy Breedlove, president of the Cobble Hill Association (CHA), told the Brooklyn Eagle that Cobble Hill residents’ “persistence and consistency” was key.

“The CHA is very thankful to all the community members whose time, efforts and persistence in documenting and calling 311 has paid off,” she said.

“We are thankful that our elected officials, and ultimately the DOB, stood by the community and understand the need for a peaceful and safe quality of life,” she said. “We are especially thankful to state Sen. Daniel Squadron and his office for working so diligently to ensure the communities concerns and complaints were documented and heard.

Department of Building’s (DOB) Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison Benjamin Colombo said in the letter that the decision covered all of the LICH properties, including 339 and 350 Hicks St., 340, 347 and 348 Henry St., 78, 82, 86 and 94 Amity St., 43 Columbia Pl., 113 Congress St., 112 Pacific St., and 83. 90, 92, 94, 108 and 124-134 Atlantic Ave.

Squadron told the Eagle earlier this month that developer Fortis was “thumbing his nose” at the community to pursue “out-of-context development.

He joined U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin in a letter urging DOB to reject any future AHV applications at the former LICH site and ensure that Fortis complies with safety and security requirements.

The Eagle visited the site and published video of the massive and noisy project underway there.

On Thursday, Squadron said, “The city listening to our call to end after hour variances at the LICH site is a great step.

He added, “As we continue to work against this inappropriate, out-of-context development proposal, this will give community members some peace of mind. Thank you to Borough Commissioner [Ira] Gluckman and DOB, my colleagues and the Cobble Hill Association.”

Breedlove said that Cobble Hill neighbors “will have their nights and weekends back and that the children playing in the Henry Street playgrounds will be free to play without noise and airborne debris after school and on the weekends.”

CHA will keep its eyes on the contractor “to ensure Fortis is adhering to the permits granted,” she said.

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