2008-06-27 / Top Stories

Bungalow Owner Wants Mid-Rise Demolished

By Nicholas Briano

The five-story building that was put up in the middle of George's easement between his bungalow and the beach could soon be demolished. The five-story building that was put up in the middle of George's easement between his bungalow and the beach could soon be demolished. Bungalow owner Richard George, who was featured in The Wave three weeks ago, after Queens Supreme Court ruled that a mid-rise building was improperly built on the oceanfront, blocking his bungalow from the ocean, is now asking that the entire five-story building be demolished.

George, whose property is at 170 Beach 24 Street, found himself staring not at the beautiful vistas of Rockaway beach, but at a brick wall of a mid-rise building, after developers built on land that George contends is protected under the 1972 Coastal Zone Management Act, a federal act dedicated to preserving beachfront access for public use.

George, the president of the Beach and Bungalow Association, sued the developers of the building and the city under the act, arguing that Yoma Development Group and Impressive Homes encroached on his protected legal easement.

Under that easement, which is in his deed to the property, George has the right to access and sightlines to the beach in a 14-foot-wide path from his bungalow to the beachfront.

According to George, the judge suggested remedies in conjunction with his ruling that his easement cannot be used for a private building.

George originally filed a suit in federal court under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, which was meant to protect oceanfront properties like George's. That suit, however, was dismissed to Queens Supreme Court where the judge ruled that the property was illegally obstructing his easement.

"The judge agreed that the developer obstructed my easement and offered a few remedies."

George, however, won't be satisfied until the building is gone and completely off his easement.

As a result he has now filed a motion to restore, which entails his request to have the entire building demolished, restoring his easement and view to the ocean.

George has been fighting this since November 2002 when he got word that a mid-rise complex was going up at the end of his block.

He is due back in court on July 15, but expects the judge to take nearly four months to make his decision. George says he is not sure what the court will decide.

"I am very unsure about the decision because people don't usually go this far," he said.

He thinks most people wouldn't ask the court to demolish a fully occupied 32 apartment lot, just to regain a clear path and site to the ocean.

George says he feels completely justified and if people are forced out of their homes from the Supreme Court's decision, he is not at fault.

"It is in their deeds, so they all knew about this before they moved in," he said. "I followed the law and feel justified."

The developers are the ones at fault, George says, for not informing people about the easement obstruction.

Neither of the defendants in this case was available for comment.

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