The March and May 2020 membership meetings of the Westmoreland Association were cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The September meeting was held "virtually" on Zoom.

Minutes of the October 21,2020 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present

President – Walter Mugdan

Vice President - Victor Dadras

Secretary – Charles Manna

Treasurer – Gary Savage

 

Board Members Present

John Duane

Peter Reinharz

Bob Timmerman

Philip Toscano

Namshik Yoon

 

Officials Present

State Senator John Liu

Amber Yoon, representing Assemblyman Ed Braunstein

 

Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the general membership meeting was conducted via Zoom.com.  Walter Mugdan thanked Gary Savage and Namshik Yoon for setting up the Zoom meeting link and preparing the instructions for the members so that they could join the meeting. 

 

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.) 

 

Walter mentioned that there were five years of minutes available on the new Westmoreland website.  The new website is: https://www.westmorelandassn.org/ .  The website also contains a copy of the Covenants.  Also, there is historical information about our neighborhood’s past.

 

Treasurer Gary Savage announced that the balance-on-hand was about $17,460. So far, only sixty-three families have paid the annual dues.  Currently we have collected $585 dues and $610 in donations. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Walter mentioned that because our March and May meetings were cancelled due to the pandemic, we did not have our usual election this past Spring.  However, all of the current Westmoreland Association officers and board members agreed to continue to serve.  Walter thanked everybody for their continuing interest and participation.

 

New and Old Business

 

Walter reported that the Third Annual Glenwood Landing Park Spring Cleanup had to be canceled due to the pandemic.  However, several brave souls, including Gary and Junko Savage, did spend a Saturday morning cleaning and raking and planting.  Thanks for the effort!

 

Walter announced that the Fourth Annual Glenwood Landing Park FALL Cleanup and Daffodil Planting event, co-sponsored by the Douglaston Garden Club, is being planned for Saturday, October 17, from 10 AM to 1 PM.  Announcements with details will be sent by email and posted on our Facebook page in early October.  All are welcome to come and help out for an hour or the entire time.  Masks must be worn, and social distancing maintained.  (We will have extra masks on hand for anybody who needs one.)

 

State Senator John Liu joined the meeting.

 

  • Sen. Liu discussed the controversy surrounding the opening of the public schools in New York City.  He is overtly critical of the preparation made by the Mayor for the new school year.  He believes that not enough planning was done and few parents, teachers, administrators and staff feel confident that the schools are ready for a safe and successful opening.  

  • To further complicate the issue, many families do not have the facility to go online and so the option of distance learning is not available for many students.  Also, the fact that parents may opt to keep their children home another semester is creating severe financial, emotional and educational hardship for the families.  In addition, many children depend on school lunches as an important part of their daily diet.

  • At the beginning of the Summer, 20% of parents wanted remote learning for their children in the coming school year.  Now 50% of parents want to keep their children home in District 26.

  • There is an estimated one-billion-dollar shortfall in the city’s annual budget.  It is expected to expand to over five billion dollars in the next several years.   The state is expecting a $4B deficit this year and $16B in the next several years.  The only solution to this impending disaster is funding from the federal government.  However, Congress is stalemated and, as a result, states and municipalities are on the brink of bankruptcy.

  • The NY State Assembly is considering an increase of income tax to those who are earning over $3,000,000 by paying a surcharge.

  • Sen. Liu mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  He praised her accomplishments and record-making achievements.  He stated his view that her passing could not have happened at a worst moment.

  • Sen. Liu discussed the unfortunate loss of more of our old, stately trees during the recent tropical storm.  The great, old trees contribute to our beautiful neighborhood.  They are also home and safe-haven to many native species of mammals and birds. In addition, they provide fresh air and shade to our neighborhood.

 

Senator Liu then invited questions from the membership.

 

Discussion of Traffic Issues Around PS-94 and Elsewhere in the Community

 

At the November 2019 meeting, discussion continued from that two prior Association meetings concerning proposals for traffic improvements in the community in and around PS-94 where conditions are chaotic and unsafe during the morning drop-off and afternoon pickup time periods.  The proposals approved at our September meeting included making one block of 41st Drive between Westmoreland and Little Neck Parkway (LNP) into a one-way street towards LNP.  At the September meeting the members present also took note of the fact that 42nd Avenue has for many years been one-way towards Westmoreland, and 44th Avenue was made one-way towards Westmoreland a number of years ago.  The members endorsed a suggestion to consider making 43rd Avenue one way towards LNP.  Walter explained that after the September meeting, a letter was sent from the Association to the Transportation Committee of Community Board (CB) 11 suggesting that the Committee consider these proposals.

 

At the November 2019 meeting the members reconsidered the 43rd Avenue proposal and voted to rescind the recommendation that it be made One Way.  The reasons to rescind were:  (1) most of the residents of that block expressed their opposition; (2) he suggestion to adopt the One Way proposal for 43rd Avenue had not been announced in advance; and (3) the proposal was not integrally related to our primary objective, which is to improve traffic safety around PS-94. 

 

In August, 2020 Association Vice President Victor Dadras communicated with Queens Borough Deputy Transportation Commissioner Al Silvestri.  The Commissioner reported that his staff had reviewed the PS-94 traffic situation and agreed with the proposal to make the one block of 41st Drive One Way.  However, he was under the impression that the recommendation was to make it One Way towards Westmoreland.  Victor made it clear that it is our proposal to make it One Way towards LNP, and since 42nd Avenue is already One Way towards Westmoreland, making 41st Drive One Way in the same direction would make no sense.  Commissioner Silvestri agreed that DOT would carry out a further review.

 

We hope to have an informal meeting with the DOT professionals, possibly in person and on-site, to review this matter.  If and when DOT makes a formal proposal we will notify all members, and notify all residents of 41st Drive specifically in writing.  We will provide information about when and how any questions/comments/concerns can be voiced.

 

Two members present at the September 21 meeting expressed continuing concerns about the proposal to make 41st Drive One Way, and asked to participate in the informal meeting  with DOT if it takes place.  Walter agreed that a limited number of residents, including these members, would be welcome to join if that meeting occurs. Representatives from the PS-94 administration would also be invited.  He assured everyone that no specific proposal or decisions have been made by DOT.  He also assured the members that all points of view would continue to be considered. 

 

New Business

Speed cameras are being installed all over the city near schools.  Two are located on Marathon Parkway between Northern Blvd and the LIE.  Speed limits on many major city thoroughfares including Northern Blvd. have been reduced to 25 mph.

 

Nam and Patricia Yoon reported that an American flag mounted on their house was stolen.  This occurred inJuly.

 

Miguel Mora -- one of the NYPD officers assigned to our Sector of the 111th Precinct – reported in July that twenty cars in the neighborhood were broken into recently.  All were unlocked; one had the keys in the car, and the car itself was stolen (though it was later recovered).

 

Covid-19 brings out the best and worst.  For several months there have been racist graffiti found in Udalls Cove Park and other places around the neighborhood.  We painted them out when we saw them.

 

Another car was keyed two weeks ago on Westmoreland Street near 41st Drive.  We will report this ongoing problem to the NYPD.

 

Walter reported that a resident of the Broadway-Flushing community, which has Rickert-Finlay protective convents very similar to those incorporated in the deeds of homes in Douglas Manor and in our Westmoreland area, claimed that the covenants are racist and discriminatory.  To date we are aware of only one person making this assertion, and we firmly reject the allegation. 

 

A house on Glenwood Street, straddling the Queens/Nassau border, had renovation construction work underway on weekends despite the fact that a Cease and Desist Order from the Town of North Hempstead (Nassau) building department was posted on the door.  The reason for the order was that construction permits had not been issued.  Walter Mugdan spoke with the owner, and advised that construction work should immediately stop, in compliance with the Order.  Walter informed the owner that the matter would be reported to the Town of North Hempstead buildings department.  The owner has complied with the Order since then.

 

A house on Nassau Road has advertised as an Air B&B.  This is a violation of the covenants, and also of the Town of North Hempstead rules.  The matter was reported to the Town of North Hempstead. 

 

Five kittens were born to a stray cat, and the mother and kittens are being cared for by a resident on Glenwood Street.  They are very friendly and sweet, and need forever homes.  We have  posted pictures of the kittens on our Facebook page.  If anyone is willing and able to invite a loving companion into their home, please contact us at 718-224-7256 or by email at westmorelandassn@aol.com    So far, three of the five have been adopted.  Please consider take the rest to save them.

 

Bob Timmerman asked if the number of Stop signs can be increased from two to four at the intersection of Westmoreland and 41st Drive.  Walter reported that at least three times over the past 10 or 15 years our Association has requested this from the DOT, along with 4-way Stop signs at the intersections of Morgan and Glenwood with 41st Drive.  So far, the  DOT does not see the justification for the additions and has rejected our repeated requests.

 

Walter mentioned that in Spring we and other civic associations surveyed businesses that remained open or reopened during the Corona virus shutdown.  The purpose was to promote support to our local business.  [Note -> there seem to be fewer massage parlors on Northern Boulevard at the present time – one good outcome!]

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.

 

The next meeting is on Monday, November 16, 2020.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Charles Manna,  Secretary

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