Minutes of the November 20, 2017 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: Phil Toscano; Robert Timmerman; Peter Reinharz; John Duane

 

Officials Present: Amber Yuan – Assistant to Assemblyman Edward Braunstein; Officer Luigi Galano – 111 Precinct – Community Affairs

 

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 are available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $22,081.9 as of November 20, 2017.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

Sondra Yuan from Ed Braunstein’s office announced that there will be a Toy Drive.  Toys can be dropped off at Mr. Braunstein’s office or at Community Board 11 (46-11 Little Neck Parkway) 

 

Leaf Pickup – if the residents use leaf bags, they can have the City pick them up at curb-side on Saturday, December 2.

 

Lions Club Dinner Dance on 11/19/17 – The Westmoreland Homeowners Association, Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, Douglas Manor Environmental Association, Douglas Manor Association, and Scout Troops 153 and 183 were honored for their community service.  Our own board member, John Duane, was honored as Lion of the Year.

 

Old Business

111th Precinct was represented by Community Affairs Officer Luigi Galano who is serving our community for the second year.

 

Officer Galano reported that the major crimes statistic (made up of 7 major felonies) has continued to show improvement.  It is down 16.2% year over the previous year.  The hard numbers are 628 crimes this year vs. 749 last year.  There have been some mid-afternoon back-door burglaries recently.  The most common auto theft in the area is of Honda wheels and tires.  The best way to avoid this kind of theft is to use wheel locks.  Also, turn the wheels sharply to the left or right.  This make it much more difficult to loosen the lug nuts.

 

Massage Parlors – there are ongoing investigations being conducted by the special crimes unit.  With current legislation, it is a complicated process to confiscate rental properties from the owners.  There must be multiple busts and convictions before the justice system can go after landlords and their property.

 

The 111th Precinct is hosting a Coat Drive.  People can drop off their gently used coats at the local police station.

 

Post Office Box change:  In an effort to prevent theft of US Mail, the post office is beginning to replace the old “Hinge” type mailboxes to boxes with simple slit openings through which the mail is inserted.  This will prevent thieves from using extraction devices to steal mail from the boxes.

 

The police also recommend the use of special pens to prevent check-washing.  (Staples sells a special pen, The UniBall 207, which prevents erasure of ink from the paper used to make bank checks.)

 

There will be a District 20 Town Hall meeting tomorrow night.  Mayor DeBlasio will host the event at 6:00 in Flushing.  

 

Contact information for Community Policing:  Officer Luigi Galano – 718-279-2204, select  #3.  Better yet, use email: luigi.galano@nypd.org.

 

The 111th Precinct also offers VIN Etching.  The crime prevention unit offers free application of VIN etching to all glass parts of private vehicles.  Call Officer Rosa for more information.

 

The NYPD also has a Twitter account.  It is a good  source of information about what is  going on in the community.

 

Tagging – there has been some graffiti-type “Tagging” in the district.  Mostly, there are the type of tags that are left by White Supremist groups and the MS13 gang.  There is a graffiti unit that works under the Schools Unit.

 

 

Old Business

 

Park Improvement –

Laura Toscano, a local high school student, led a project involving the improvement of the Glenwood Landing Park.  Volunteers helped improve the plantings in the park. The date for the cleanup was October 28, 2017 from 9:00 to 2:00.  Laura worked with Catherine Touwsma of the Douglaston Garden Club on this project.  Catherine also led project on the same day to improve the Catherine Turner Richardson Park in Douglaston.  Both projects are part of the City Parks Department's annual "It's My Park Day" event.  Thousands of tulip bulbs were planted in the Glenwood Landing Park.  Volunteers were also provided with trash bags to clean up the garbage on the north side of 39th Road, along the LIRR parking lot fence line. 

 

250-21 41 Drive:

The house is undergoing renovations, including additions at the front and back of the house.  The front part of the addition is in violation of the covenants.  There is only a fifteen-foot setback from the front of the property.  Phil Toscano brought it to the attention of Walter Mugdan and the owners in early July, soon after construction began.  Walter wrote a letter to the owners advising them that they are in violation.  The Property owner claimed ignorance of the covenants, although she has lived in the house since 1997.  The Association sends a copy of the covenants along with the March meeting notice every year.  The owner’s attorney and the Association's attorney are in contact with each other.  So far, the legal expenses the association has incurred have been minor -- our attorney prepared and sent one formal letter to the owner.  Our attorney is Maura Nicolosi, who also has represented the Douglas Manor Association and the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association in connection with their efforts to enforce their similar Rickert-Finlay covenants.  We are waiting for a response from the owner and/or her attorney.  Hopefully, it will not be necessary to go to the next step, which would be to file a lawsuit.

 

Peter Reinharz, Walter Mugdan and Charles Manna met with attorney Maura Nicolosi to discuss the matter.  The meeting was originally called for by the attorney for the owner.  However, the attorney canceled the meeting because it was clear to him that there was little chance that a "compromise" could be reached.  We decided to meet with Ms. Nicolosi anyway to discuss the situation with her.  She will prepare papers to file with the courts.  Hopefully, this will force a settlement.

 

Peter Reinharz moved that the membership give the Board the authority to raise funds to pay for the expenses involved in this issue.  Motion seconded and passed.

 

Illegal Parking

There are some residents who are parking on their front lawns. They are living on 39th Ave. and have driveways that are very steep because their garages are under their houses.  Parking on front lawns is not allowed.  The Association will write letters asking the residents to desist from  this practice.

 

The Armenian Community Center – A representative from State Senator Tony  Avella called Walter to learn whether  the hall has addressed the problems with excessive, late night noise.  Walter advised her that the situation has improved since the Association's letter in September, 2017, which was followed by a conversation with the Armenian Society's President.

 

Lions Club Honored the  Westmoreland Homeowners Association.

 

John Duane reported that the Little Neck-Douglaston Lions Club honored our Association along with three other local civic organizations (the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee; the Douglas Manor Association and the Douglas Manor Environmental Association), and two boy scout troops, at its annual Dinner Dance held at Leonard's of Great Neck on November 19.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

 

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Minutes of the September 18, 2017 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: Phil Toscano; Robert Timmerman; Peter Reinharz; John Duane

 

Officials Present: Ahmed Nazaar from Councilman Paul Vallone’s office

 

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 are available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $21,9381.54 as of September 18, 2017.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Old Business

111th Precinct representatives were due to participate in the May 17, 2017 meeting.  Unfortunately, they did not appear nor did they inform us that they were not able to attend the meeting.  Subsequently, they informed us that there was a last-minute emergency that prevented their attendance.  We will invite them to the November, 2017 meeting.

 

Participatory Budget Committee:

Ahmed Nazaar discussed the Participatory Budget Committee process and asked for volunteers to join in.  The committees will be chosen in the next month or so.

 

Park Improvement –

Laura Toscano, a local high school student, received the Rotary Club Leadership award, which involves her working on a community service project. She presented a project involving the improvement of the Glenwood Landing Park. Volunteers will be needed to help improve the plantings in the park. The date for the cleanup is October 28, 2017 from 9:00 to 2:00. The idea is to make the park more family friendly so that more members will visit there. It is also hoped that the improvements will discourage undesirables from hanging out there.  Laura is working with Catherine Touwsma of the Douglaston Garden Club on this project.  Catherine is also leading a project on the same day to improve the Catherine Turner Richardson Park in Douglaston.  Both projects are part of the City Parks Department's annual "It's My Park Day" event.

 

It was suggested that on the project day, if sufficient volunteers show up, volunteers could also be provided with trash bags to clean up the garbage on the north side of 39th Road, along the LIRR parking lot fenceline.

 

It was suggested that lighting at the Glenwood Landing park should also be improved to keep drug use at a minimum.  Victor has been working with the Parks Department to make such improvement.

 

The Amenian/Iranian Hall-

Bob Timmerman and his daughter have talked to Tony Avella and other officials about the non-compliance of the owners of the hall.  The building is in a residential zone and has license to conduct affairs and parties for members only.  It is not permitted to rent the space for commercial catering and other events.  However, it appears that the hall may be violating these terms of use.  For instance, there was what appeared to be a catered party held there on the Saturday that created a noise situation until 4:00 Sunday morning.  They promised that the hall would be closed after midnight in the past.  The promise is not being kept.  We requested that Mr. Nazaar speak with Councilman Paul Vallone about what we can do to enforce the law here.  There is also a tax issue here -- this is supposed to be a not-for-profit enterprise.

 

Glenwood Street and 41 Drive. 

Construction Fence – We talked to the owners and contractors.  Neighbors had  complained during the summer about the condition of the grass around the lot; Victor Dadras spoke to the owner, who took care of this problem.  They also plan on a January 2018 completion date.

 

251-21 41 Drive:

The house is undergoing renovations, including additions at the front and back of the house.  The front part of the addition is in violation of the covenants.  There is only a fifteen-foot setback from the front of the property.  Phil Toscano brought it to the attention of Walter Mugdan and the owners.  Walter wrote a letter to the owners advising them that they are in violation.  The Property owner claimed ignorance of the covenants, although she has lived in the house since 1995.  The Association sends a copy of the covenants along with the March meeting notice every year.  The construction has stopped and the owner’s attorney and the Association's attorney are in contact with each other.  So far, the legal expenses the association has incurred have been minor -- our attorney prepared and sent one formal letter to the owner.  Our attorney is Moira Nicolosi, who also has represented the Douglas Manor Association and the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association in connection with their efforts to enforce their similar Rickert-Finlay covenants.  We are waiting for a response from the owner and/or her attorney.  Hopefully, it will not be necessary to go to the next step, which would be to file a lawsuit.

 

Any updates will be shared on our Facebook page.

 

Bike Path on Northern Blvd.

 

Motion was made by Charles Manna and seconded by John Duane to support the creation of a bike path to connect the Joe Michaels pathway to Douglaston Parkway on the north side of Northern Blvd; and to request the Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider an extension of the bike path east into Little Neck.  Passed unanimously.  This reconfirms the Association's vote to support such a bike path taken at our November, 2013 meeting.  The bike path proposed by the DOT was created as part of the Mayor's “Vision Zero” campaign, plus the efforts of residents and businesses in the area.  In June, 2017 Community Board 11 voted to support the idea, but recently  changed its position.  Some CB-11 members (including Bernie Haber) want the path to be created on an expanded sidewalk on the north side of Northern Boulevard, so that the motor vehicle roadway would not be narrowed.  The cost of such an expansion would be high -- perhaps prohibitive.  It would require, for example, widening of the bridge over Alley Creek; and taking space away from the golf driving range parking area.  Also, the Parks Department is expected to be reluctant to give up land for such improvements.  As of the writing of these minutes, the project has already begun.  Walter Mugdan will write a letter reflecting out support.

 

Speed Bumps in  the Neighborhood:

 

DOT Deputy Queens Commissioner Silvestri advised the Association that a speed hump will be installed on 39th Road between Westmoreland Street and Glenwood Street (work has begun on signage).

 

DOT also agrees to install two street lights on 39th Road between Little Neck Parkway and Nassau Road.  (One of these could perhaps also illuminate Glenwood Landing Park -- see above.)  They are scheduled for installation during the first quarter of 2018.

 

DOT will not install traffic lights along this stretch.  DOT is still looking at pedestrian volumes along 29th Road in the PM peak when people are exiting LIRR trains.

 

Lions Club Honoring Westmoreland Association.

 

John Duane reported that the Little Neck-Douglaston Lions Club will be honoring the Westmoreland Association along with three other local civic organizations (the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee; the Douglas Manor Association and the Douglas Manor Environmental Association), and two boy scout troops, at its annual Dinner Dance, to be held at Leonard's of Great Neck on November 19.

 

The schedule for our remaining 2017 meeting is: November 20, 2017.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,  Charles Manna, Secretary

 

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Minutes of the May 22, 2017 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

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

 

Board Members Present: Robert Timmerman

 

Officials Present: Ahmed Nazaar from Councilman Avella's Office

 

Vice President Victor Dadras 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. Dadras 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 $21,932.62 as of May 22, 2017.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

111th Precinct representatives were due to participate in tonight’s meeting.  Unfortunately, they did not appear nor did they inform us that they were not able to attend the meeting.  

 

Memorial Day Parade: The Westmoreland Homeowner’s Association, the Udall’s Cove Preservation Committee and other local groups will participate in the Parade again.  The kickoff for those groups will be from the parking lot in front of Starbucks Coffee, 55 Northern Blvd..  Volunteers are need to participate in the groups’ march and also to help the organizers run the parade. 

 

Old Business

 

Participatory Budget Results: 

6,214 votes were cast throughout District 19.  (4,654 paper ballots vs 1,560 digital ballots), once again substantially increasing the voter turnout of 4,503 ballots cast during the previous cycle.  As a result of  this year’s success, Vallone will be allocating additional capital funding in order  to  fund  the  $1.4 Million deeded for the  top  four  projects.  The results are as follows:

  • P.S. 41 Centennial Electrical Upgrade – 2,085 votes

  • NYPD Security Cameras – 1,729 votes

  • Bayside HS 3200 locker Project – 1,603 votes

  • Whitestone Library Technology Upgrade – 1,226 votes

There were fifteen other proposals with fewer votes.  Mr. Vallone  may consider the  next two candidates with some of the remaining budget dollars.

 

Department of Transportation –

All-stop studies –

  • Westmoreland and 41 Drive – New Study has been opened.  The tracking number is DOT-319031-K4H7. Due late February 2017 (but not yet completed).

  • Morgan and 41 Drive – New study opened.  The tracking number is DOT-319034-R3C7

  • Removal of Parking spots on Little Neck Parkway north of Pembroke.  Tracking number DOT-324369-G3X9 – anticipated response is April 2017 (but not yet completed).

 

Work order to remove metered parking – review for mid-block crossings at the three LIRR access points along 39 Road (between Little Neck Parkway and Nassau Road).  The tracking number for this request is DOT-324354-D4G0.  We anticipated a response in late April 2017, but not yet completed.  If mid-block stop signs are not feasible (will find out if they meet the criteria with this study), this issue will then be flagged directly with NYCDOT's Pedestrian Projects Group to evaluate for other possible improvements.

 

Study still open – Review for additional street lighting along this same stretch.  The tracking number is DOT-324359-K7H7.  The anticipated response was also in April 2017, but not yet completed.

 

Question and Answer period:

Q. Will there be safety measures place on 39th Road?

A: No  speed control (speed humps and speed bumps) will  be constructed on 39th Road; and there is not enough space to construct a sidewalk on the north side of 39th Road.  Painted crossings will likely be added.

 

CB11 will discuss the extension of Bike lanes on Northern Blvd from Douglaston Parkway to the Joe Michaels Mile near the Cross Island Parkway.  [Update since meeting: This issue was considered by CB-11 at its June 5 meeting.  The proposal to build a bike lane along this stretch of Northern Blvd narrowly passed. A final decision will be made by NYC DOT, which designed the proposal.]

 

Q. Westmoreland and 41 Drive -- there is an electric pole in the middle of the sidewalk.  Also, on Glenwood and 39th Road there are two poles that don’t have any utilities on them. 

 

Several additional items of old and new business were then discussed:

 

Upcoming events:

 

  • May 29, 2017 – Annual Memorial Day Parade.  Volunteers are needed for setup and cleanup.  Westmoreland Association will once again march in the parade to show our support and respect for men and women in uniform, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Meet at 1:30 near Starbucks shop, 55 Northern Boulevard.

 

The schedule for our remaining 2017 meetings is: September 18, and November 20, 2017.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,  Charles Manna, Secretary

 

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Minutes of the March 20, 2017 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

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

 

Board Members Present: None

 

Officials Present: J. Antos from Assemblyman Braunstein's Office; Ahmed Nazaar from Councilman Avella's Office

 

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 are available for review on the Westmoreland website.)  

 

Gary Savage provided the Treasurer’s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $20,767.51 as of March 20, 2017.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report.  The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

Walter Mugdan presented the roster of candidates for the Westmoreland Homeowners association board and its officers.  There were no additions or deletions from  the  prior  year.  An invitation was made for new candidates to announce themselves.  No one volunteered.  So, once again, the election of the standing candidates was made, seconded and passed.

 

The positions are:

President – Walter Mugdan

Vice President – Victor Dadras

Secretary – Charles Manna

Treasurer – Gary Savage

 

Board members:

. David Diaz
. John Duane
. Peter Reinharz
. Robert Timmerman
. Philip Toscano

 

 

Old Business

Mr. Mugdan read parts of several communications from Hon. Albert Silvestri, Queens Deputy Borough Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation.  Commissioner Silvestri attended our previous (November 2016) meeting in response to our invitation to discuss ways in which traffic safety in our community could be improved.  Commissioner Silvestri provided the following responses to our stated concerns and suggestions:

 

  • He put in a request to review for mid-block crossings at the three (3) LIRR access points along 39 Road (between Little Neck Parkway and Nassau Road). The tracking number for this request is DOT-324354-D4G0. He anticipates a response in late April 2017. If mid-block stop signs are not feasible (he’ll find out if they meet the criteria with this study), this issue will then be flagged directly with DOT's Pedestrian Projects Group to evaluate for other possible improvements.

  • DOT has reviewed for the placement of sidewalk on the north side of 39th Road;  however due to the number of trees and the narrow width of 39th Road, it has been determined that adding a sidewalk on the north side of the street is not feasible.

  • Additionally, he put in a request to review for additional street lighting along this same stretch of 39th Road. The tracking number is DOT-324359-K7H7 and the anticipated response is also in April 2017.

  • DOT will not install "No standing" signs on 39th Road, but will evaluate whether existing "No Parking" signs should be refurbished/replaced.

  • Speed Humps on MORGAN STREET from 41 DRIVE to NORTHERN BOULEVARD:  DOT-324368-L3M9, anticipated response is January 2018.

  • All-Way Stop Studies: (1) Westmoreland and 41 Drive – New study opened, tracking number is DOT-319031-K4H7; due late February 2017.  (2) Morgan and 41 Drive – new study opened, tracking number is DOT-319034-R3C7; due late February 2017.  (3) Glenwood and 41 Drive – not eligible for new study until mid-July 2017 as we are within 18-month window since the last study.

  • Speed Humps on 41 Drive between Glenwood and Morgan: there was a study in 2005 that found this stretch as not being feasible. Unless there were major changes to the residential driveways along this stretch, DOT will not get a different outcome by opening a new study.

  •  No-Idling signage around PS-94: Agency practice is to only install around the perimeter of the school after consultation with NYC DEP (who can also enforce against idling). There is an existing sign on Little Neck Parkway in front of PS 94.

  • Removal of parking spots on Little Neck Parkway north of Pembroke; DOT-324369-G3X9, anticipated response is April 2017.

  • Change in existing one-hour meter times to two-hours on Northern Blvd: He has reached out to Parking Operations to inquire how they would like to handle this request.  He suspects they might request a letter from the community board to ensure overall community support. Though patrons and restaurants often prefer 2-hours there are other business models that often prefer the one-hour as it provides for quicker turnover of nearby parking.

  • Little Neck Parkway (north of Northern Blvd), request for lane delineation: The southbound lane is too narrow to simply mark this for a second travel lane. To add lane delineation would necessitate the removal of the parking lane. This is not something DOT will be pursuing at this time given the existing traffic volumes.

  • Little Neck Parkway (south of Northern Blvd), request for change to lane designation going NB on Little Neck Pkwy. Instead of a dedicated right turn lane the request was for (1) a right turn and through lane, and (2) a dedicated left turn lane.  Signals has reviewed this request and found that the NB right-turn is heavy and necessitates the dedicated right-turn lane as well as the right turn signal. The right turn at this location is significantly higher than the left turn at both the AM and PM peak. 

 

Several additional items of old and new business were then discussed:

 

  • Mr. Dadras reported that the property on the northwest corner of the intersection of Glenwood and 41st Drive had a stop-work order due to unsafe handling and storage of Oxygen tanks.  The house is being constructed with steel framing, so the materials require welding.  Floors are being constructed with steel plates. It appears the stop work order may have recently been lifted.

  • Armenian Hall immediately across the LIRR tracks from our community. We should discuss this property with the police at the next meeting. Some members stated that the property lost its 501-3 C tax-exempt status in 2006, but that the organization continues to solicit donations as being tax deductible.  .

  • Snow Removal – was terrible after the latest storm.  Many piles of snow were left on pedestrian crossings, sides of roadways, etc.

  • One of the spas on Northern Blvd had some type of police activity in February, 2017.  We need to discuss the illegal activity all along the Boulevard from Douglaston Parkway to the Great Neck border with the 111th Precinct police in May.

  • House Fire – the house at 250-20 42 Ave., previously occupied by long-time resident Fred Mehrling, suffered a smoldering fire in December, 2016.  The cause was electrical.  The new owners installed upgraded HVAC and a new kitchen but did not upgrade the electrical circuitry.  The boiler also failed, and the landlord provided the tenants with space heaters. The result was too much burden on the ancient wiring, and a smoldering fire occurred in the attic.  The lesson is to insure that the wiring can handle additional amperage and that the circuit breakers are up to code.  The Fire Department came promptly when called, and extinguished the fire.  The tenants had to move out immediately.  At this writing, the owner is carrying out renovations and repairs.

 

Upcoming events:

 

  • April 29, 2017 – 48th Annual Udalls Cove Park cleanup; meet at 10 am near Aurora Pond, on Sandhill Road (“the Back Road’); free picnic lunch for all volunteers at 12:15 at Douglaston’s Memorial Field.

  • May 29, 2017 – Annual Memorial Day Parade.  Volunteers are needed for setup and cleanup.  Westmoreland Association will once again march in the parade to show our support and respect for men and women in uniform, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Meet at 1:30 near Starbucks shop, 55 Northern Bouleveard.

 

The schedule for our remaining 2017 meetings is: May 15, September 18, and November 20, 2017.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary