Street discharge pipe grandfathered

341 Richmond Road, Queens. Image Credit: Google Maps.

Queens home discharged storm water onto the street through a pipe beneath the sidewalk. Janet Yan owns a home located at 341 Richmond Road in Queens that was built in the 1930’s. A pipe that passed under the sidewalk discharged storm water out to the curb from the house drain. The water flowed into the street and could potentially freeze, creating a slipping hazard to the public. The Building Department charged Yan with failure to maintain the building in a safe manner in violation of the Building Code.

An OATH hearing officer upheld the charge, ruling that a pre-existing condition was not a defense to a violation of the City Administrative Code and upheld the violation.

On appeal, the OATH Appeals Unit reversed the hearing officer’s decision and dismissed the charge. The Board found that the under-sidewalk drain was legal under the Building Code of 1938 and was therefore “grandfathered in” to comply with current building codes. The Building Code of 1938 had no requirement that the drain be connected to a sewer. The Board credited Yan’s testimony which asserted that under-sidewalk drains have been present in area homes for over 40 years.

DOB v. Janet Yan, OATH Index (Appeal) No. 1901167.

By: Maria Hatzipetros (Maria is a New York Law School student, Class of 2021.)


One thought on “Street discharge pipe grandfathered

  1. One more victory for the GOOD GUYS!

    You realize the Department of Buildings is an Organized Criminal Conspiracy disguised as a municipal agency with the goal of balancing the City Budget on the backs of hard-working homeowners. Wait until they check the errant water streams in Park Slope. Oh, they have political power. Never mind.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.