NEW YORK CITY — A Queens neighborhood is the king of illegal curb cut complaints.
South Richmond Hill logged more than 200 complaints of illegal curb cuts or driveways, double the amount from last year, and far higher than any other neighborhood in New York, according to an analysis of 311 data.
“We have a big, big problem with illegal conversions and illegal curb cuts in South Richmond Hill,” said Simcha Waisman, vice president of the Richmond Hill Block Association. “You can walk around one corner, down a few blocks, you’ll see it all over.”
SEE WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL CURB CUT COMPLAINTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD:
Illegal curb cuts often arise in neighborhoods far from Manhattan where many homeowners have cars. Rather than trying to find street parking every day, some residents opt to cut the curb, remove lawns and create their own driveway — without getting permission from the city.
Brooklyn residents recorded the highest number of complaints this year, with 822 — nearly 10 percent of them logged in Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Queens, which has about 300,000 fewer residents than Brooklyn, came in as a close second citywide, with 760 complaints.
One property on 95th Avenue racked up 43 complaints made against it in 2014, one of the most in the borough. The status of those complaints was not clear.
Some 141 complaints were filed in the Bronx, 109 in Staten Island and a mere 30 in all of Manhattan. No more than six complaints were reported in a single Manhattan neighborhood.
Foes of illegal curb cuts say they unfairly reduce street parking and become ugly eyesores, affecting a neighborhood’s quality of life.
“It’s horrible when you see these places with cement all over them and cars parked up in small spaces that were meant to be yards,” said Joe Moretti, 56, of Jamaica, Queens. “It makes it look like the community is allowing all kinds of stuff to happen to it.”
Residents say that illegal curb cuts are far more prevalent in Brooklyn and Queens because of a lack of enforcement from the Department of Buildings.
“Part of the problem is real estate, but the biggest problem is the Department of Buildings — they are not inspecting properties,” said Waisman. “They will issue a summons, and then do nothing about it.”
The spokesman said the agency tries to respond to an illegal curb cut complaint within 90 working days. If a violation is issued, fines start at $200 and can reach $2,500.
It was not clear how many violations were issued.
“What I really want to know is what happens after a complaint. What happens?” said Joan Bachert, a program director at the Richmond Hill Block Association.
Bachert said her car was towed after she parked in front of a driveway that she insists was built illegally. She paid close to $300 in fines.
“I was really furious,” said Bachert, 68. “I complained to as many people as I could.”
Waisman urges residents to dial 311.
“They’re saying that it’s useless, 311 is useless,” said Waisman. “I tell them it’s not useless — it’s registered. I say keep calling. Keep calling.”