Site of East Side crane collapse mistakenly permitted

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The East Side tower that was the site of the March 15 crane collapse that killed seven people should never have been permitted, Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster told the City Council yesterday. The 43-story tower at 303 East 51st Street violated zoning requirements for the low-rise Turtle Bay block, said Lancaster, who blamed an unnamed plan examiner for approving the development. Council Member Jessica Lappin said the Turtle Bay Association raised concerns about zoning violations on Nov. 26 and Dec. 5, but said the Buildings Department “blew them off.” Lancaster downplayed the snafu as a “combination of building laws and tax laws and how you can combine them and how you can’t.” DOB inspector Edward Marquette was arrested after the disaster for allegedly faking an inspection of the tower. Council Member Tony Avella told Lancaster, “The leadership of your agency has to go. The agency is clearly out of control. Nothing ever changes. People are dying.” 

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