Assemblyman Joe Lentol Announces Removal of Monitor Street from Nassau Avenue Reconstruction Project

February 14, 2011

Monitor Street will be removed until title can be acquired to Monitor Street between Norman and Greenpoint – likely at least two years – and then a comprehensive plan that takes into account the community needs and input will be developed that minimizes any impact on residents.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol was just as shocked as the homeowners on Monitor Street between Nassau and Norman when a series of letters arrived at their doors informing them that parts of their homes, usually fences and stoops, didn’t belong to them and might have to be removed. According to these letters, called “encroachment letters,” parts of these stoops and fences lay on city land and would potentially interfere with the upcoming reconstruction plan.

“It was really upsetting for several reasons, first, some of these fences and homes have been in place for a hundred years and in that time no one had ever been told that their home was encroaching on city land,” said Assemblyman Lentol. “Second, this is the only block not on Nassau Avenue that is being done, people really felt that they were being singled out. And lastly, this block just had a lot of improvement and infrastructure work done and doesn’t necessarily need to be torn up again at the cost of people’s homes, peace of mind, their finances and hundred year old houses,” Assemblyman Lentol concluded.

Originally the project was supposed to include three blocks, Monitor between Nassau and Greenpoint but because the city doesn’t have title between Norman and Greenpoint it dropped down to one block. “I was gratified to learn today that they will be postponing the project until they can acquire the title to all three blocks which should take at least two years. I also have in writing that when they do undertake work on those three blocks of Monitor street, the work will be done with a plan designed to have as minimal impact on the residents as possible,” said Joe Lentol. “This gives us plenty of time to come up with a plan that has full community input for the planning and accommodates the needs of the community and their houses.”

Assemblyman Lentol was able to organize a meeting with the Department of Design and Construction and residents of Monitor Street and Nassau Avenue, Councilman Steve Levin, Senator Martin Dilan and District Leader Linda Minucci and CB1. These sentiments regarding the letter and the impact on people’s homes were made very clear. Assemblyman Lentol followed up with conversations with the Commissioners of DDC and the Department of Transportation expressing the views of the community.

“That block of Monitor Street is beautiful, and people take excellent care of their homes. I used to live on that block, so I know personally. And that is what I heard over and over again from the residents of that block. They don’t want their block touched,” said Assemblyman Lentol. “I am really pleased that we have gotten such a positive outcome and are now able to take our time to work towards a really great plan.”

“Also it will mean that we will actually be getting work done on the two blocks of Monitor Street that need it and the one block that is already beautiful we can plan carefully and with deference to the houses that exist. I am proud to have been able to help these residents and to have worked with my colleagues as well as Community Board 1 towards making this happen. Even more so, I am proud of all the residents of Monitor Street who came out to fight this haphazard proposal and stand up for their homes and their community,” said Lentol.