By Gus Saltonstall
The giant advertisement on West End Avenue that West Side Rag first wrote about on January 29 remains up as of Thursday afternoon, but the Department of Buildings did officially issue four violations related to the sign on Wednesday.
Following the Rag’s reporting, the DOB visited the sign between West 95th and 96th streets last week, and determined it was illegal in multiple ways.
Here are the official violations that have been issued to the building’s owner, 720 WEA Ventures LLC, according to the DOB.
- B201, AC-28-105.1: For a sign erected without a permit.
- B2A2, ZR 22-321: For a sign that exceeds maximum square footage for a residential district.
- B2A2, ZR 22-342: For a sign that exceeds maximum height for a residential district.
A violation was also issued to the shed and scaffolding contractor of the building — DHS FRACO LLC — for an unlawful sign on a protective structure.
Councilmember Gale Brewer has also drawn attention to the advertisement and has both written a letter to the city and been in direct contact with DOB Commissioner Jimmy Otto, who was the Staten Island borough president when she served as Manhattan borough president, to urge that the “Up End The West End” advertisement be addressed.
While the violations have been issued, it does not mean that the advertisement will come down tomorrow.
The next step is an Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) hearing, which is generally scheduled 60 days out from the date of violation. The penalties will only be imposed once this hearing takes place and the respondent is found to be in violation, or if they do not show up to the hearing.
The exact associated penalties are not determined until the trial, but here are what the specific violations generally cost if confirmed.
- Work without a permit: $1,250 (with an additional DOB civil penalty required for correcting the work without a penalty)
- Sign too large for residential district: $2,500
- Sign too high for residential district: $2,500
- Unlawful sign on a protective structure: $2,500
The violation issued to the shed and scaffolding contractor is not mitigable, while the other three are.
Additionally, the DOB will continue to monitor the advertisement, and if they find that the sign has not been removed after 45 days, they will issue another round of violations that carry much higher penalties.
The development team at 720 West End Avenue has not returned West Side Rag’s request for comment.
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