Minutes of the November 19, 2016 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present: President – Walter Mugdan; Vice President - Victor Dadras; Treasurer – Gary Savage; Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members Present: Bob Timmerman; John Duane; Phil Toscano

 

Officials Present: Al Silvestri – Deputy Commissioner for the NYC DOT

 

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously adopted to waive reading of the minutes.   (Mr. Mugdan noted that the minutes are available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $21,262.48 as of November 12, 2016.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Deputy Silvestri discussed the issue of using signage and/or speed humps in the Westmoreland neighborhood.  

 

Speed humps – DOT puts in 250 speed humps per year in Queens.  First, however, they need to research the traffic volume and traffic patterns on the streets in question.  If there is a need for speed humps, they will install 5” high humps on School blocks and 4” high humps on other blocks.  The DOT will conduct a safety study on the streets in question 

 

The DOT will use studies to determine if road markings will influence traffic flow.

 

Also, the DOT will determine if there are ways to control pedestrian flow. 

 

There are many neighborhoods that are requesting more traffic controls.  Many with more dire need due to numerous traffic and pedestrian accidents. 

 

We discussed converting two-way streets to one-way streets.  This has been studied in the past.  Back then there was little enthusiasm for such change by both the DOT and the local citizens.  [Several members of the Westmoreland Association Board of Directors discussed this after the meeting, expressing opposition to this idea.]

 

The Deputy Commissioner entertained questions from the general membership. 

Q. Lane markings on Little Neck Parkway north of Northern Blvd. are missing. 

A.  It will be corrected.

 

Q.  Anti-Idling campaign – DOT has been removing the signs in an effort to reduce too much signage.  Signs have been removed from the streets in front of both the LIRR station and PS 94.  

A.  No effort will be made to change the policy

 

Q. Suggestion was made to modify the street markings on Little Neck Parkway going north at the Northern Blvd intersection.  The left lane’s arrow is for straight ahead and/or left turn.  The right lane is marked right turn only.  It causes traffic backups because cars are stalled turning left. 

A.  A traffic study would have to be conducted to determine if making the right lane the optional straight ahead or right turn lane would improve traffic flow.

 

Q. Would it be possible to change the meters to permit two-hour parking?  Restaurants are hurt by the one-hour limit.

A.  Not sure if it would affect traffic flow.  Will look into it.

 

[Note: Several weeks after the November, 2016 meeting Deputy Silvestri provided a written response to each of the issues raised in our Association's written correspondence and during the November meeting.  His responses will be shared with the membership during the March, 2017 meeting.]

 

Old Business

 

LEAF COLLECTION. The Department of Sanitation will have one final leaf collection on Sunday, December 4, 2016.  Paper bags only.

 

Food and Organic Waste Recycling – Community Board 11 is organizing the delivery of Organic Waste Bins to  every household.  The bins will be brought to the curb on recycling day.

 

39th Road – residents are complaining that the volume of LIRR arrival announcements are very loud.  Senator Avella will be at the station tomorrow to witness and address the  issue.

 

LIRR Pedestrian Bridge – the  completion date is past due.

 

The Armenian Center – the building is used for catered events.  Local residents are complaining that the parties there are getting out-of-hand and are too noisy during the summer months.  Evidently, the doors are kept open in the evenings during the events and parties that are held there and are much too noisy.

 

The House located at 41st and Glenwood – sent  a letter to  the  Westmoreland Homeowners Association stating that they intend to comply with the covenants.

 

A truck that was parked on Morgan Street and 41st Ave – was finally towed  away.

 

 

The schedule for the forthcomings meetings is: March 20, 2017 and May 15, 2017. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Minutes of the September 19, 2016 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present: President – Walter Mugdan; Vice President - Victor Dadras; Treasurer – Gary Savage; Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members Present: Bob Timmerman; John Duane; Phil Toscano

 

Officials Present: Ahmed Nazaar from NYC Councilman Peter Vallone’s office

 

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously adopted to waive reading of the minutes.   (Mr. Mugdan noted that the minutes are available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $21,262.48 as of September 19, 2016.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Old Business

 

41 Drive and Glenwood Street - The house was demolished and the debris was removed.  Victor Dadras reported that he gave the Westmoreland Covenants to the architect.  The architect, in turn, gave a copy of the house plans to Victor.  They appear to be in compliance with both the NYC zoning regulations (R2A) and the covenants.  We will keep watch on the property to be sure that the building in fact does comply. 

 

39 Road and Little Neck Parkway – At the last meeting, it was revealed that the owners had completed a fence that was in violation of our covenants.  A letter was sent to the owners explaining the violation.  Walter Mugdan followed up with a personal visit.  The owners were very nice about the issue and promised to take care of it.  Walter is happy to report that the two sections of fence that were in violation were removed on September 15-16; the larger section (adjacent to Little Neck Parkway) has been replaced by a hedge; the section along the east side of the driveway was shortened.

 

Bicycle access to the Joe Micheal’s mile -- Unfortunately, a Bayside resident was killed while cycling near the intersection of Northern Boulevard and the Cross Island Parkway.   He was riding eastbound on Northern and attempting to cross to the entrance of the bike path on the Joe Michaels Mile.  He was struck by a car as he attempted to make the crossing of the Cross Island entry ramp.  There is a traffic light to cross the Boulevard but no signage or signal to cross the ramp.  After much discussion, it was proposed that we pass a motion to write to the Department of Transportation Commissioner and to ask to meet with us and with other concerned individuals and groups to discuss the situation on and around that area.  A representative of a group called Transportation Alternatives, who is also member of our organization, expressed much interest in participating in that meeting.  

 

The discussion then extended to concerns about traffic safety within the Westmoreland community.  Motorists use our local streets to bypass congestion on Northern Boulevard.   A motion was made to invite the Commissioner to attend the November, 2016 Westmoreland Association meeting and to discuss:

 

1.         Excessive high speed traffic in our neighborhood, and along Northern Boulevard between Bayside and Douglaston (where the bicycle fatality occurred) 

2.         Better traffic control at the off-ramp of the Cross Island Parkway (going East).

 

It was pointed out that we have had discussions and written communications with the DOT about these and related issues in the past several years.

 

Participatory Budget – Ahmad Nazaar reporting:

The next round of Participatory Budgeting will start soon.  Ahmad encouraged us to join in and help decide which capital projects should be included in the list of candidates for selection by the residents of District 19 next Spring.  Typically, the projects that get the top five votes will be eligible to share one million dollars in funding for the following year.  Last year, Councilman Vallone was able to add in more money from his discretionary funds to add additional projects.  One of those was funding for capital improvements at our Library in Little Neck.  The Councilmember will hold four Neighborhood Assemblies in coming weeks to explain and kick off the process.  The nearest to us will be on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Little Neck Community Church.  [Information about that meeting was subsequently sent to our Association's email list, and posted on our Facebook page.]

 

New Business –

 

A question and answer session was opened to the general membership.

 

Q.  What can be done to improve the appearance of Triangle Park (Glenwood and 39th Road)?  What can be done to discourage the use of the park by outsiders who are drinking and taking drug at night there?

A.  A couple of years ago the NYC Parks department offered to put in new plantings, but it didn't happen.  They said they need local residents to commit to taking care of the new plantings for the first year (a commitment we had made at the time, and are prepared to make again).  The Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society would also like to plant flowers or do other improvements there.  Some members commented that better lighting would reduce the use of the park for drug activity at night.

 

Q.  How can we stop the excessive use of leaf blowers in the neighborhood?

A.  The Douglas Manor Association communicated with its members asking them to voluntarily stop using leaf blowers from May through October.  One member noted that leaf blowers really are not necessary for use for grass removal.  It is just as easy for the workers to use rakes.  It was reported that most residents seem to be complying with the request.  (No one enjoys their Saturday mornings to be interrupted by the smelly, noisy devices.)  Walter Mugdan will contact the DMA and ask for a copy of the written communication they sent their members.  [This has subsequently been done; we will discuss the idea at a future meeting.]

 

Q.  Is the day care business being conducted in two buildings within the Westmoreland development (one located on Little Neck Parkway near 39th Road and the other on 39th Road near Westmoreland Street) in compliance with our covenants and City regulations?

A.  Yes.  Our Rickert-Finlay covenants provided for two "Business Sections" in our development.  One is along Northern Blvd. and the other is the block bounded by 39th Road, Westmoreland Street, 40th Avenue, and Little Neck Parkway (opposite the LIRR station).  The covenants allow operation of businesses in these two areas, though not elsewhere in the development.  The block along 39th Road, near the LIRR, is not zoned commercial under the NYC zoning rules.  However, a day care center is a permitted use in an area that is not otherwise zoned commercial. 

 

Q.  Bat Houses – a resident encouraged members to use bat houses in or near our community to encourage the type of bat that feeds on mosquitoes to take up residence here.  Bats eat a large number of insects daily, and are not dangerous to people or pets.

A.  We agree.  They can be purchased for under thirty dollars at, for example, Hicks Nursery.  One nearby resident installed a bat house this Spring and bats took residence immediately.  They can be installed on the upper side of a house or on the  side of  a tree. They should be at least 15 feet from the ground.

 

Udalls Cove – Motion was made and unanimously passed to write to the Belgrave Sewage Commission to include the removal of the concrete block house in the southern end of Udalls Cove as part of their planned project to replace the sewage treatment plant discharge pipeline.  The unsightly structure no longer serves any purpose.  The structure was built in 1934 as part of the discharge pipeline; the blockhouse is where the pipeline makes two 90° bends to shift from above-ground to underwater; it extends from there about a half mile out into the bay which is where the discharge point is.  The entire pipeline is being replaced by a pipeline that will be underground all the way from the treatment plant to the discharge point; the blockhouse will no longer serve any purpose.  In the past several years, it has been used by the resident ospreys as a base or platform for their nest.  However, they suffered a catastrophic loss on April 24, 2016  when their nest was burned by three teenage vandals.  The teens had easy access to the structure from the shore during low tide.  Removal of the structure would encourage the raptors to return to the osprey nesting platform nearby to once again raise their chicks there.

 

Electronic Recycling – The next recycling day is scheduled for October 8, 2016 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  It will be held at the parking lot in St. Anastasia Church in Little Neck

 

The schedule for the forthcomings meetings is: November 21, 2016; March 20, 2017; and May 15, 2017. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Minutes of the May 16, 2016 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present: President – Walter Mugdan; Vice President - Victor Dadras; Treasurer – Gary Savage; Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members Present: Peter Reinharz; John Duane; David Diaz; Phil Toscano

 

Officials Present: John Erdman, NYPD Community Affairs Officer, 111th Precinct

 

Old Business –

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 8:05 P.M.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously adopted to waive reading of the minutes.   (Mr. Mugdan noted that the minutes were available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $20,084.63 as of March 21, 2016.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business –

 

Officer Erdman of the NYPD reported to our Association on the current status of crime in our area.

  • Major Crimes – there are very few incidents in our precinct.  There was a lap top computer stolen at the local McDonalds Restaurant.

  • Anyone who wants to check out the local crime statistics can go to the COMSTAT 2.0 web site.  It gives precinct-level information.

  • Grand Larceny – 70% of the crimes are credit fraud plus ID theft.

  • A gas station on Frances Lewis Blvd was the location of a card reader that was illegally attached to the ATM.  It enabled the thief to capture the ID  and password of a victim.

  • Last October, in the Westmoreland area, a car tire was slashed during Halloween.

 

Walter Mugdan said that there were two major concerns in our neighborhood:

  1.  There are too many massage parlors that seem to defy police efforts to close them down. They seem to attract non-resident men who hang around the street at night. The Captain said that there have been 80 arrests in the past year in connection with prostitution activities.  So far, the operation located at Northern Blvd and 254 Street in Little Neck was shuttered.  Four more are due to close soon.

  2. There is too much noise emanating from the roof-top garden/bar/restaurant at Il Bacco.  The captain stated that the noise is within legal limits, and that the owner has been responsive to complaints.

 

There were question from the membership.

  • Q: How can we be more effective in reducing prostitution?

  • A:  Go after the landlords. Use the Abatement of Nuisance law to bring landlords to justice.

 

  • Q: Will the NYPD be installing cameras along Northern Blvd?

  • A:  None planned at present

 

We thanked Officer Erdman for attending our meeting and sharing this information.

 

There was a report on the Participatory Budget process completed a few weeks earlier.  The voting was concluded; there were five winners: the Bayside High School music program was the biggest winner; projects at Jr. HS 194, PS 194 and PS 79 were also successful.  There was money budgeted to upgrade some pedestrian sidewalks.  The improvement project at the Douglaston/Little Neck Public Library was not a winner, but it did get a promise from Councilman Paul Vallone that money would be found from his discretionary budget to fund Shelving and Computer Station upgrades.

 

Old Business

 

Development:   Last month, it was reported that a corner lot on Glenwood and 41st Drive was recently purchased.  The new owner purportedly has stated that she intends to split the lot and build two new houses on them.  The lot is not big enough to do this legally.  It violates both the Westmoreland covenants and the NYC zoning law (it is zoned R2A).  The current property is comprised of four Rickert-Finlay lots; the covenants require a minimum of three such lots for a corner house and two are required for an interior lot.  Also, the City's R2A zoning requires a minimum of 40' frontage for each house.  The property in question is 75 x 100, therefore not large enough to support two houses.  On March 25 Walter Mugdan wrote to, and offered to meet with the new owner.  The letter brought to her attention the Westmoreland covenants and informed her that a split cannot happen.  Association Vice President Victor Dadras subsequently met and spoke with the architect, Edward Lu, who advised that the owner is planning to build only one house there.  Plans for the house were late shared with the Association, and it appears the construction will conform with our covenants and city zoning rules. (The house was demolished and removed around September 15th.  We will keep an eye on it.)

 

The house at the corner of Little Neck Parkway and 39th Ave. built two fences that are in violation of the covenants.  The owner has been notified that the violating portions of the fences must be removed.  (The fences were removed around September 16.)

 

Apparently another property on 39th Avenue may be operating a business by leasing expanded driveway space to commuters for parking.  The expanded driveway may also exceed City limits for impervious surface coverage on the property.  311 will be called to report the possible violation(s).  (The call was subsequently made.)

 

40-20 Westmoreland Street is apparently a Mother/Daughter configuration. 

 

41-32 Morgan Street is for sale.  There appears to be an illegal apartment in the basement.

 

41-21 Morgan has a commercial vehicle parked on the front lawn.  That is also in violation of City rules.

 

(Several calls to 3-1-1 were subsequently made to report these potential violations.)

 

The schedule for the remaining year’s meetings will be September 19 and November 21, 2016. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Minutes of the March 21, 2016 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present: President – Walter Mugdan; Vice President - Victor Dadras; Treasurer – Gary Savage; Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members Present: Peter Reinharz; John Duane; David Diaz; Phil Toscano

 

Officials Present: Ahmed Nazaar from NYC Councilman Peter Vallone’s office

 

Old Business –

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 8:05 P.M.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously adopted to waive reading of the minutes.   (Mr. Mugdan noted that the minutes were available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $20,084.63 as of March 21, 2016.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Board Elections – The existing slate of officers and board members was ratified for another year, with the addition of one new board member, John Duane.

 

 Officers

President – Walter Mugdan

Vice President – Victor Dadras

Treasurer – Gary Savage

Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members

Robert Timmerman

Peter Reinharz

John Duane

David Diaz

Phil Toscano

Victor Dadras

 

 

New Business –

Mr. Mugdan reported that the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association has asked the Westmoreland Association to support S6958, a legislative proposal of New York State Senator Tony Avella that would promote the creation and recognition of architectural districts within New York City.  Among the motivations for the bill is the slow pace and highly restrictive nature of historic district designation.  This legislation would create an alternative and less stringent pathway through which a community can protect its architectural heritage and maintain the character of their neighborhood.  After a period of discussion, a motion to support the objectives of this legislation was made, seconded, and passed with all but one member present voting in favor.  (On March 25 Mr. Mugdan wrote to Sen. Avella to convey this position.)

 

Mr. Mugdan reported that on March 17 we received a communication from Sen. Avella's office regarding the ongoing effort to reinstate the "cease and desist" law.  Sen. Avella requests that residents who receive unsolicited real estate advertisements to report that information to his office.  The advertisements can be mailed to his office at 38-50 Bell Blvd. Suite C, Bayside, NY  11361.          

 

 

Update on Support of covenants.  Mr. Mugdan noted that in 2013 the Westmoreland Association, joined by the Douglas Manor Association and the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association, asked the District 19 candidates for NY City Council, if elected, to work for legislation requiring the Buildings Department to put a "flag" on its website for properties subject to protective covenants such as ours.  Such a flag would be placed upon notification by an individual or an association like ours that covenants apply to a property.  As a candidate Councilman Vallone agreed to undertake such an effort, and once elected he introduced Intro 280 which would have done that.  The bill was vigorously opposed by the City Buildings Department.  In due course, the City Administration proposed an alternative, pursuant to which the City Finance Department would create such a flag on its ACRIS database of properties.  That arrangement was finalized in January, 2016; the Finance Dep't. created a form to be used by individuals or associations to identify properties subject to covenants.

 

Our Association was disappointed in this arrangement for several reasons.  First, the flag would be in the ACRIS system, rather than the Buildings Information System (BIS).  This significantly reduces its utility because all persons building or expanding on a property need to check BIS, but few need to check ACRIS.  Second, the form itself requires submission of information that is both burdensome to collect and unnecessary for the purpose. 

 

Ahmed Nazaar stated that Councilman Valone’s office has worked with the BFHA to complete the form for a number of properties, and has found that it is not unduly burdensome.  His office created an instruction form to help identify where the relevant documentation can be found -- much of it online.  He said they would be happy to help us and the other associations complete the forms, with the help of interns.  He noted that Lionel and Jonathan in the Councilman's office are most knowledgeable about the process and would be available to speak with us.  Mr. Mugdan said he would undertake to fill the form out for a property that was recently sold and may be subject to development (see below); and he will accept the offer to discuss this further with Councilman Vallone's staff. 

 

Commercial News:

Update: Citibank appears to have walked away from the new building on the old Scobie Diners lot.  There is a “For Lease” sign up on the window again.

 

Staples building – No news.  There is a rumor that the Staples building and the North Shore Hardware building will be combined to create a car dealership.

 

Development:   A corner lot on Glenwood and 41st Drive was recently purchased.  The new owner purportedly has stated that she intends to split the lot and build two new houses on them.  The lot is not big enough to do this legally.  It violates both the Westmoreland covenants and the NYC zoning law (it  is zoned R2A).  The current property is comprised of four Rickert Finlay lots; the covenants require a minimum of three such lots for a corner house.  Also, the City's R2A zoning requires a minimum of 40' frontage for each house.  The property in question is 75 x 100, therefore not large enough to support two houses.  Walter Mugdan will write to, and offer to meet with the new owner and inform her that the proposed split cannot happen.  (The letter was sent on March 25.)

 

Memorial Day Parade – There will be a Memorial Day Parade board meeting April 6th and a general meeting on Saturday, April 9th.  Anyone interested in volunteering should attend  one or both.  Charles Manna is looking  for volunteers to  help organize the  parade attendants in Division I (the blocks  from Buttonwood to the Harley-Davidson Dealership).  The Parade itself is on May 30 at 2 PM; members are invited to march with the Westmoreland Association (meet in the parking area near the Starbucks on Northern Blvd.)

 

Udalls Cove Annual Cleanup - Saturday, April 16, starting at 10 a.m. All are invited. Meet near Aurora Pond on the Back Road (Sandhill Road), just west of the Little Neck railroad station; then join us for a free post-cleanup picnic lunch at Memorial Field in Douglaston.

 

Questions from the membership:

  1.  Massage Parlor – has a task force been successful in shutting any of them down?  We will ask at the next meeting when the police will attend.

  2. Parking on properties:  People are parking on their front lawns.  This is a continuing concern of the membership.  We will remind homeowners that this is not permitted.

 

The schedule for the remaining year’s meetings will be May 16, September 19 and November 21, 2016. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary