2007-10-24 / Political Page

Bldgs. Dept. Boro Commish Is The Guy Next Door

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Photo Dominick Totino Queens Borough President Helen Marshall (r.) visited the Department of Buildings (DOB) Queens office on Monday, October 1, to get a personal look at how the new Buildings Scan and Capture Application Network (B-SCAN) works. At second l. is Queens Building Commissioner Derek Lee, flanked by DOB employees. B-SCAN allows the public to scan and unload documents online that are related to building projects. The new network also allows DOB staff to electronically manage construction permit applications. "This new system is impressive, and saves a lot of time," Marshall said. Photo Dominick Totino Queens Borough President Helen Marshall (r.) visited the Department of Buildings (DOB) Queens office on Monday, October 1, to get a personal look at how the new Buildings Scan and Capture Application Network (B-SCAN) works. At second l. is Queens Building Commissioner Derek Lee, flanked by DOB employees. B-SCAN allows the public to scan and unload documents online that are related to building projects. The new network also allows DOB staff to electronically manage construction permit applications. "This new system is impressive, and saves a lot of time," Marshall said. As far as Derek Lee is concerned, he is the guy next door. "After all, I am a Queens resident," the Department of Buildings Borough Commissioner said. "As buildings officials and as your neighbors, we like to look at ourselves as your friendly neighborhood building department," Lee told the October meeting of the Borough Cabinet at Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) is chartered to enforce building laws with a primary mission to help New York City build, said Lee. "And we do build," he added.

"Queens is a community of over 2.4 million people who come here to live, work and to study," said Lee. "We do have a dire need for affordable housing."

Pointing to the September 10 approval of the Jamaica rezoning plan by the City Council, Lee said it would certainly help. That rezoning, the largest to date, covers 368 blocks and includes 5,200 residential units.

Lee said the introduction of B-SCAN in Queens last month will eliminate problems with missing paperwork by allowing DOB staff to scan paperwork filed on the same day, making the information available online. Of some 34,000 building permits filed with DOB citywide, Lee said the majority of permits are filed in Queens.

He also invited homeowners to Homeowner's Night. Every Tuesday, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., DOB's doors are opened exclusively for homeowners who can get one-toone assistance from staff at Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd.

Borough President Helen Marshall, in partnership with the Department of Housing Preservation (HPD), presents the annual housing fair, "Welcome Home, Queens", on October 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lost Battalion Hall, 93-29 Queens Blvd.

Anyone thinking about buying a home and looking for help with a down payment or who already owns a home and is having trouble making mortgage payments or just needs money for home repairs, can get information on HPD's HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program for first-time buyers.

In addition, information on the home buying process and mortgages, HPD low-interest loan programs and foreclosure prevention services, and affordable homeownership opportunities provided by HPD will be available. To reserve space to attend, call 718-286- 2865.

In another presentation to the Borough Cabinet, the Department of Sanitation (DOS) said enforcement of a new city law prohibiting unauthorized clothing bins on public streets began on October 1.

Under the provisions of Local Law 31, all publicly accessible collection bins are now regulated. DOS has identified 300 such bins in the borough. They have been tagged and notification has been sent to owners who have 30 days to remove them, or else DOS will. The law does not apply to collection bins on private or government property.

To report a collection bin on a public street, call 311. DOS will contract a vendor for clothes from bins that may be removed from streets.

Fall leaf collection will take place on Sunday, November 18 and December 2. Leaves for collection must be put in paper bags or unlined containers. No plastic is allowed.

A self-help special waste drop-off site will be available at the Queens No. 7 garage, 30th Avenue between 121st and 122nd Streets. The site is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday, except the last Saturday of the month, when Friday is the day for drop-off. Special waste includes dry paint cans, waste oil, tires, batteries florescent lights and similar items.

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