New bill may allow Breezy Point residents to rebuild homes despite BSA’s outdated map halting progress

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 18:12:58-04

Breezy Point, QUEENS (PIX11) — Artie Lighthall and Denise Neibel, who run operations at the Breezy Point cooperative call it a horrible technicality. An archaic city map has been blamed for stalling the rebuilding of at least 135 homes, which were devastated after a fire ripped through the cooperative community right in the middle of Super storm Sandy.

The map, created in 1948,  does not properly reflect roads and sidewalks that currently exist and yet,  was still used and cited by the city’s Department of Buildings and Board of Standards and Appeals as a reason to deny a number of building permits.

“I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the agencies were still holding to it and that they couldn’t internally create some sort of regulation to get around it,” said Assemblyman Phil Godfeder, who spoke to PIX11 over the phone.

Godfeder said he heard the concerns of his community and introduced legislation, which passed unanimously at the State Senate level on Monday.  It is a bill, now only awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature, that may very soon allow residents to bypass and eliminate altogether the BSA’s outdated process for a period of one year.

“I think what that speaks is that the legislature recognized that this is an absolute need and is not something we would like to have, but need to have,” said Lighthall.

The bill still requires Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature before becoming law, which may take another several weeks.