Cobble Hill

Bogus No Parking signs at LICH site tick off Cobble Hill residents

'We want our money back!'

April 21, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Signs like this one, erected by a contractor for Fortis Property Group at a former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site in Cobble Hill, are bogus, and residents are furious about all their unnecessary parking tickets. Photo courtesy of a contributor
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Cobble Hill residents have finally had their suspicions confirmed: poorly displayed “no parking” and “no standing signs” that appeared on Henry Street between Amity and Pacific streets in January were illegal, put up by a contractor for Fortis Property Group, which is developing the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH).

After piling up tickets for months, skeptical residents turned to the Cobble Hill Association, which contacted local officials and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

After an inspection by DOT on April 3, the signs, erected by Scala Contracting Company, were removed. Now, however, furious car owners want their money back.

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The Cobble Hill Association (CHA) was told by Fortis “that DOT has granted this and put up the signs,” said Amy Breedlove, the association’s president. (See end of story for an updated comment from Fortis.)

“The CHA is outraged that community members and visitors can be ticketed repeatedly for illegal signage,” she said. “We do not appreciate the flagrant disregard for the law and also the extreme disrespect for our community.”

Residents say they got ticketed even when they weren’t close to the fraudulent signs.

“I was parked on the north end of the block, in front of the sitting park, in a legal spot,” Dorothy Siegel told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The ‘temporary’ sign, such as it was, was placed on the face of the scaffolding on the south end of the block.”

Another resident, who asked to remain unnamed, said in a letter to DOT, “The confusion is further facilitated when temp signs go up in after construction work has been going on for months, signs are in very poor, bent, damaged condition, and almost hidden from view.”

It took a village to get the signs removed, CHA says.

“Continuous follow-up by the CHA with support from state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Brad Lander’s office finally got the DOT to send out an inspector and the barricades and ‘no parking’ and ‘no standing’ signs were found to be illegally erected,” Breedlove said.

Now that a Notice of Violation has been sent to Scala, “The CHA will be contacting Scala and Fortis for retribution to our community members who received erroneous parking tickets — not to mention the loss of parking due to these illegal actions,” she said.

“Yet again, developers at the LICH site added insult to injury by taking up community parking spots without appropriate approval, according to DOT,” Squadron told the Eagle. “I’ll continue working with CHA and colleagues to ensure tickets are reversed or addressed, and to hold the developers at the site accountable.”

“We will continue to work together to ensure wrongfully issued tickets are dismissed — and to prevent further trespasses by the developer in our community,” Councilmember Lander said.

Keith Bray, DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, has issued a letter to residents who were illegally ticketed that might help them in court. It reads in part, “DOT has determined that temporary construction no parking signage was incorrectly installed at this location.” But it’s up to the court to determine whether it will take the illegality into consideration.

UPDATE: A Fortis spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle Friday evening, ““It is our understanding that the signs were placed by the Department of Transportation and we are currently looking into this matter. If it is ultimately determined that the signs were illegally placed by our contractor, we will of course reimburse anyone who received a parking ticket.”

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