Bensonhurst residents fear city penalties over retaining walls

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It seems there's confusion between the city's Department of Buildings and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Brooklyn residents are stuck in the middle.

Last month, Bensonhurst residents received notices of violation from the city's DOB concerning retaining walls separating their homes from the subway behind their buildings.

The letters said that in order to remove the violation on their property, the homeowners need to submit a technical report form within 60 days of the letter dated Oct. 2, and pay all necessary filing fees.

The letters also state failure to comply may result in civil or criminal penalties.

Residents tell News 12 that the retaining walls are not their property and that when they've reached out to contractors to get the city the requested documents to prove that, they've been told it could cost them a couple of thousand dollars and — some workers won't even accept the job saying it's too dangerous.

Last month, the MTA sent the DOB a letter recommending these violations be rescinded - confirming the maintenance of the walls is the MTA's responsibility and is done on a regular basis.

However, residents tell News 12 they've received no word from the DOB. That's why Assemblymember William Colton is stepping in — demanding the DOB take responsibility immediately. "This is an example again of a government agency that has failed to serve the public that is failing to protect the public and in fact is acting like it doesn't know what it is doing," said Colton.

In a statement, a DOB spokesperson tells News 12, "On November 8th, the NYCTA informed the Department of Buildings that they would be taking legal responsibility for the maintenance of the retaining walls along the b, q and n lines in Brooklyn. Since that time, DOB has provided the NYCTA a list of properties with retaining walls along this line, for them to confirm that they would be taking responsibility for the retaining walls at each of these properties. Once NYCTA confirms the properties on the list we provided to them, we will rescind the non-penalty violation letters."

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