Adjacent Building Owners Win Protections For Demolition

32-49 37th Street, Queens. Image credit: GoogleMaps

City sought to demolish derelict, mid-block row-house. The Department of Buildings issued an emergency declaration to demolish a deteriorating, vacant, and dangerous row-house at 32-49 37th Street between Broadway and 34th Avenue in Astoria. In order to demolish the abandoned mid-block building, contractors were required to erect scaffolding protecting the adjoining row-houses that physically abut the derelict building. The owners of the neighboring row-houses refused access to construct the scaffolding unless the City obtained legal permission to use their property and secured protection for their properties and its occupants through insurance and other forms of indemnification.

The City filed an action with the Supreme Court, Queens County, seeking access to build the scaffolding on the neighboring premises. Supreme Court Justice Kevin J. Kerrigan granted the City’s petition, finding that the only safe approach to dismantle the deserted row-house was through protective scaffolding on the abutting row-houses. The court explained that no permission was needed because the Buildings has the power to authorize the demolition of properties that pose an immediate threat to life and safety.

Justice Kerrigan, with the City’s agreement, ordered the City to have its contractors add the adjoining properties’ owners as additional insured payees. Demolition of the derelict building is pending.

City of N.Y. v. 32-45 37th St. LLC, 56 N.Y.S.3d 840 (Sup. Ct. Queens Cty. 2017).

By: Avra Kutcher (Avra is a student at New York Law School, Class of 2019)

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