Today in the City Council while all eyes were on the Community Safety Act and Stop and Frisk, Council Member Arroyo engineered a sneaky trick.
She introduced legislation for City Council review of a project going though ULURP, the Uniform Land Use Review Process, which happens anyway. She did this so she can say she tried to have more input.
The project in question is the controversial New Hope Transitional Housing by Liska Inc owned by Julius Ausch on 731 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. Ausch is missing Certificate of Occupancy from another building in the area, 1073 Hall Place. Community Board # 2 has long opposed this facility and the Borough President recently asked the City Planning Commission not to approve the variance application. He also owns empty junkyard lots.
The eight-story residential complex at 731 Southern Blvd. has been used as a shelter by New Hope Housing since it was built in 2009 — but such a shelter needs a zoning change to rise that tall.
He is also the head of the http://www.lacasny.com/portal/ and founder of RJP Realty Development Corporation. The “Bishop” has his own past impersonating an officer, like an Arroyo’s aide was arrested for and no one knows the disposition of that case.
According to the NY Daily News :” Rodriguez also is a convicted felon under indictment along with other members of a controversial group of police buffs who illegally pass themselves off as law enforcement officers… Rodriguez, …, pleaded guilty in 1998 to scheming to defraud at least a dozen tenants who gave him deposits for apartments he had no authority to rent, according to court records. According to a law enforcement source, he also was busted in 1994 by the FBI for passing bad checks, although the disposition of that case is unclear. … When Rodriguez was collared Jan. 24 in upper Manhattan, he was driving with a suspended license, carrying a bogus police badge and also had a forged California driver’s license. On the dashboard was a red bubble light and a bogus placard …”
But for some reason, “plans for the building were approved,” admitted Buildings Department spokeswoman Kelly Magee.
But now the agency changed its mind — apparently because the building currently has nine open construction violations, city records show.
The violations include elevator infractions, operating a shelter without a permit and failure to maintain the interior of the building.
“People shouldn’t be living like this,” said Community Board 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca, who walked through the building in May.”
Diaz stated: ” The real losers in this situation are the families being sheltered in this building and the residents of Bronx Community Board #2, who have had to deal with the problems this building represents. Not only is it overbuilt and an improper use it is not aesthetically pleasing, and there have been a number of issues, such as presence of rats, reported at this location. “
Why is a Brooklyn Council Member leading a land use legislation about a contentious Bronx property?
What role does Arroyo have in denying the will of the Community?
Here is the Environmental Assessment Statement prepared by Evan Lemonides Associates.