Dyker buzzing over damage to century-old tree in course of home construction work

A hive of bees and the tree that it called home fell victim Friday, June 23 to a construction truck working nearby, according to local residents who alerted this paper to the “chaos” unfolding on an otherwise quiet Dyker Heights street.

“I got a call about a few hours ago from [local resident] Anthony Ceretti saying that his son watched this garbage truck back into a 100-year-old tree [knocking off a large branch],” local resident and City Council candidate Liam McCabe told this paper. “Then they proceeded to just leave it there.”

The truck, McCabe said, was a private carting vehicle, raising suspicions that 934 78th Street, the property the construction crew was working on, might be another alleged illegal conversion, an issue that has long-plagued the Dyker Heights community.

“These are not union guys,” McCabe said. “They don’t know how to drive these trucks and they’re dragging out hazardous, major construction material. When I showed up, they slammed the door in my face.

“Not only are they illegally redeveloping the block,” he alleged, “but to add insult to injury, they’re knocking down trees when they do it.”

According to DOB officials, the owner of 934 does, in fact, have permits for interior renovations, issued on June 9, though the permits do not allow any changes to the egress or occupancy of the site, which is a legal two-family.

There is one open DOB complaint on the property, owned by Xue Yu Lin, dating to June 13, 2017. That complaint alleges “construction beyond approved plans/permits. Construction in progress contrary to plan.”

The damage from the accident went beyond the tree itself, according to Ceretti, who said the huge branch that came careening off the tree made contact with a parked car across the street – one, he alleges, belonging to the owner of another property on the block that had been under a stop work order by the Department of Buildings (DOB) for over a year after complaints about it being an illegal conversion were made.

“Karma,” he wrote on Facebook.

Down the block from 934, 941 78th Street appears to have been issued a stop work order back in 2015, based on DOB records, though none exists at this point in time. There is one open complaint on the latter address, alleging illegal conversion, dating to June 6, 2017. The owner of this property is L & Z 78 Corp.

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