When D.O.B. realized its mistake, it issued a Stop Work Order and the Borough Commissioner is planning on revoking the permit.
Now, the owner, Gennaro Brooks-Church, of Eco Brooklyn has responded at length to the controversy on his own web site, blaming both the economy, the DoB and his neighbors for his recent woes.
"A couple blogs (1 and 2) have picked up the goings on at 22 2nd street, the Eco Brooklyn green show house and my home. What sparked the interest is a recent screw up by the DOB where they gave me a permit to build a storage room in my front yard and then revoked it.
Before we delve into that lets give this a little perspective. To buy the house the bank wanted 30% down, an amazingly high percentage for the time, but we had our mortgage broker line up refinance papers to pull money out again, and we closed on the house.With plans to have the home equity line of credit we proceeded on our merry way to deconstruct the house which was in really bad shape. Some floors were completely rotted from termites.
And then the banks started to collapse. Our broker company went our of business and with it our hopes of refinancing. Nobody would give us a construction loan.We were sitting on a very expensive monthly mortgage with a gutted house and little money to rebuild it. Despite being in construction since I was twelve I hadn’t planned on doing the renovation myself. I figured I could make more money as a real estate broker and pay another contractor to do the renovation. But real estate was clearly on its way to more mellow territory. And besides I had no money to pay a contractor. But the main reason was I realized no contractor could do what I wanted. So I scraped some money together with my girlfriend and started out with a tool belt.At first I just wanted to build a green house for my family. I didn’t plan on having a company. But to do the renovation I needed insurance and a company to pull permits. So I formed a little company to deal with the legal requirements. I called it Eco Brooklyn."
He goes on to his neighbors for snitching on him and for calling 311. He writes:
To read his entire post, click here.
"Looking back the biggest mistake I made was trusting people to be as good willed as I was. One day an inspector showed up. At first he was apologetic. He said he only had to do it because somebody on the block called 311 and filed a complaint. He didn’t go into details, just that somebody had called. Strange, I said, nobody has raised objections to me. He looked at our plans and our work quality and saw everything was ok. He admired our salvaged stone walls and leftWe continued on our merry way.Whoever called on the block kept calling, though.
And a week later we were shut down for building on city property. The letter stated the DOB made a mistake and that my front yard was not mine.One thing I have learned, if you make a mistake with the DOB you pay for it. If the DOB makes a mistake, you pay for it. So I was not happy to hear the news, especially since I was almost done!What irks me the most is that whoever kept calling really had it in for me. They even said I was building an illegal green roof, which is completely false – it is legal and I built it a year and a half ago.
Why somebody would spend so much time snitching on me and not speak to me directly is beyond me.It is very unsettling since everyone on the block is on good terms with me to my face. My neighbors to one side are vocally unhappy with my construction site but we say hello at least. They understand the situation and simply look forward to the work being done.Is it them who called? Is it the guy across the street who sits on his stoop all the time and waves?I’m embarrassed enough by the ugliness and long standing construction site.
Now every time I walk by a neighbor I wonder if it is them who sneakily is calling 311 and bad mouthing the job site behind my back. I don’t mind assholes because at least you know where you stand. But I hate cowards.The true irony of this is that I would have been done with the front yard in a week. I would have been able to clear the yard and plant it with beautiful native plants and trees. The storage room would not have been visible or a bother to anyone.But now the front yard is stalled with blue tarps and piles of stone for possibly months. The DOB has asked me to put up an ugly fence which is going to annoy neighbors even more.If I were to do it again I would not do a storage room. It is a stupid use of money. I would have dug out the lower duplex in the back yard. That way the dig out would be livable space instead of space for bicycles. I would be able to rent the lower duplex out for more and arguably the space would be better served.I did the front dig thinking it would be quick, painless and relatively inexpensive. The storage would have been great. It was my little extravagance. My man cave. Now of course my girlfriend who is not pleased has suggested not so nicely that I go live in that @$#!! man cave.I point out to her that it probably needs to be closed up never to be enjoyed again, which is a sick irony that just puts salt on a very expensive wound.
We await a hearing with the DOB. They have suggested I can approach the Department of Transportation and negotiate buying the land back. Maybe the DOT would allow me to build stairs to the cellar at the very least. But these are huge maybes and would take a long time, be costly and probably not work.As for you dear 311 caller, whoever you are, have the balls to come see me and introduce yourself. At least we can discuss things because your actions now are not doing anyone any good."
What say you of this lengthy explanation, dear Reader?