The Great Recession really stinks — and for one Park Slope family, it’s literal.
Steve Shepard, who lives next to a troubled construction site on Fourth Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets, says that a fetid stench from gasoline and oil overwhelms his co-op apartment and can be smelled from as much as a block away.
“It smells like a refinery! It gives my wife headaches and a sore throat,” said Shepard.
The torrential downpours of last week only made matters worse. Shepard now worries that hot weather will create a Biblical plague of putrid odors.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation said that the odors were tied to “small amounts of petroleum floating in some standing water.”
The spokeswoman, Lori Severino, also noted that the site has been on the city’s radar since 1989 as being possibly contaminated. Clean-up proposals were first made by BP in 2007.
A year later, developer Isaac Katan proposed a 12-story, 107-unit building that would have remedied the contamination while building stylish structure next door to another luxurious condo building on Fourth Avenue, the Novo.
Some excavation took place, but the recession put the full plan on hold. But the smell continued.
To top it off, the company in charge of the project, Tona Development, took three feet of the Shepards’ porch to make room for “construction” on the former gas station.
And Shepard says that Tona hasn’t even paid him in a year for that three-by-10-foot space on his porch.
A secretary at Tona Development referred a Brooklyn Paper reporter to Vito Cardinale and Nick Ponzio, whom she said were the owners of the troubled site.
When reached by telephone, Cardinale said, “I don’t know why Tona referred you to me, I’m only an investor. You should talk to them.” Ponzio did not return several calls.
Unfortunately for Shepard, it doesn’t look the stinky situation will be remedied anytime soon.
“More permanent [odor] solutions will be discussed as part of the remedial action plan being developed now,” said Tom Mueller, a spokesman for BP, which remains on the hook for the clean-up. “[The plan will assume that] the construction project will not move forward.”
Messages left at Katan Developers were not returned.