2003-11-21 / Community

Neighbors Pooh-Pooh Toilets Next Door

By Brian Magoolaghan
Neighbors Pooh-Pooh Toilets Next Door By Brian Magoolaghan

Residents in a section of Rockaway already besieged by messy construction crews may have to live with almost 250 porta-potties near their homes if a recent city zoning assessment is correct.

Neighbors of 329 Beach 73 Street, complained to the Department of Buildings (DOB) and Community Board 14 (CB14) about the property where portable toilets, which belong to Call-A-Head, are being kept. The lot, which used to have a house on it, according to one neighbor, adjoins residential properties to the north, south, and west.

One neighbor said the property smells in the summer and is a year-round eyesore.

Even the DOB thinks it stinks – they issued a violation to the property’s owner, Brian Pinnola, of Garden City, citing "illegal use in residential district… storage of portable bathrooms." But the owner/ operator of Broad Channel based Call-A-Head, Charlie Howard, said when the issue goes before the Environmental Control Board (ECB) next month the DOB "will lose."

He may be right; the property is zoned for manufacturing (M1), according to the Department of City Planning. Rachaele Raynoff, a spokesperson for the department said as long as Pinnola’s fence is opaque and at least eight feet tall the storage is permissible.

CB14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska said he contacted the Health and Sanitation Departments to see if the toilets fall within their jurisdiction, and that he is checking with the DOB to see if additional permits are required.

Meanwhile, even Howard agrees that the property is not an ideal spot to keep his extra toilets. He said
he wants to find a more neighbor-friendly spot for storage. But isolated property that meets his zoning and size
requirements is hard to come by, he said. The ECB hearing is scheduled for December 16.

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