Minutes of the March 15, 2021 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

Namshik Yoon

 

Officials Present or Represented

John Gallo – Deputy Chief of Staff for New York State Senator John Liu

Adriana Aviles - President, District 26 Community Education Council

 

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 $17,805.33 as of March 18, 2019.  So far, 48 families have paid their dues.  Plus, there was $57 in contributions.  The current mailings cost $144 (Charles Manna) and Walter Mugdan was reimbursed $978 for expenses during 2020.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

Our annual election of Officers and Board members took place.  The current Board and Officers were reelected.  Two new Board members were added: Arasu Jambukeswaran (41st Drive) and Jess Bravo (Glenwood St.).

 

NYPD hosted a “Build the Block” meeting at Admiral Park on January 23, 2021.  There will be another one scheduled soon. The two coordinators are P.O. Miguel Mora and P.O. Robert Dussel.

 

The Fourth Annual Spring Cleanup at Glenwood Landing Park (the Triangle Park at the intersection of Glenwood and 39th Road) will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 10 AM to 1 PM.  The event is co-sponsored by the Douglaston Garden Club.  The NYC Partnership for Parks will supply gardening tools.  Volunteers are asked to wear COVID masks.

 

The 52nd annual Udalls Cove shoreline, wetlands and woodlands cleanup will take place on Saturday, April 17.  From 9 AM to Noon representatives of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee will be near Aurora Pond on the Back Road (Sandhill Road), and will provide volunteers with trash bags, work gloves and directions about where their participation will be most helpful. 

 

Rank Choice Voting - Presented by Dan Cho.  Primary Voting will be changed in the future for New York City. More information is available at: www.nyccfb.info/NYC_Votes/Ranked_Choice_Voting   

In short: Each voter can select up to five candidates per office.  The candidates are ranked in order of preference.  That way, If there are no candidates who achieve a 50% vote, they can accumulate votes from the losers.  This will eliminate the necessity of having run-off elections (which are costly and have extremely poor turnouts).  Additional information will be provided at our May 17 meeting, in advance of the next primary election.

 

Victor Dadras had several announcements:

 

  1. Council Speaker Cory Johnson is proposing to overhaul the NYCity-wide zoning that is currently in effect.  It would require comprehensive zoning, which is generally considered to be a good thing; but there would be a significant loss of local control.  Some commentators have asserted that the plan would eliminate single-family zoning, but that is not in fact part of the proposal (though the proponents cite with approval another city that has done this).  The proposal faces significant opposition at the present time.  We may discuss this further at future meetings.

  2. Capital Budget:  There may be funds available to update/renovate Glenwood Landing Park.

  3. Zion Church, in conjunction with Community Church of Douglaston and the Douglaston Local Development Corporation, is hosting food pantry events on two Sundays each month.

 

Stop and Shop Grocery Store on Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway – is slated to close next Fall.  This will create a great hardship for those who cannot walk to other stores.  Those concerned are encouraged to sign the online petition asking that it be kept open:  https://www.change.org/p/paul-vallone-closure-of-stop-and-shop-in-little-neck?redirect=false

 

Vandalism:  Westmoreland Street – a resident had all four tires slashed recently.

 

Reminder about Covenants:  The Rickert-Finlay protective covenants that apply to all properties in the Westmoreland community are printed on the back of the March newsletter each year.  Homeowners are encouraged to be aware of them.

 

Homeless Shelter:  A shelter is proposed for the building currently housing the Pride of Judea Mental Health Clinic on Northern Blvd at 243rd Street in Douglaston; it is scheduled to open by the end of 2021.  In early January the Association sent a letter to the NYC Department of Homeless Services providing a number of comments on the plan and requesting more information.  In particular, we expressed concern about the number of residents planned for the shelter -- 72 to 74.  They will be housed dormitory style, 8-10 per room, which is not an ideal arrangement.  There are pros and cons to the location.   We strongly support the City's proposal to establish a Community Advisory Board (CAB). We expect to have at least one member on the CAB, and the Board has designated Arasu Jambukeswaran to serve in that capacity.  We support the plan for the shelter to serve single women age 50+, but recognize that the City could change that in the future.    There is no staff parking lot; staff and visitors will have to park on the street.  CB-11 held three meetings to discuss the proposal, which were attended by Association representatives; note that neither CB-11 nor local elected officials have a decision-making role.

 

Traffic Pattern around PS94: 

The Motion made at the Association's November, 2020 meeting was brought to a vote after relatively brief additional discussion.  The Motion was discussed at length during the November 2020, as described in the minutes of that meeting which are posted on our website.  The Motion has four parts (only the first of which was in contention -- the other three elements are consistent with the Association's previous position, adopted in September 2019.  The Motion reads as follows:

 

1.         That the Westmoreland Association withdraw its support of the proposal to make the one block of 41st Drive between Westmoreland St. and Little Neck Parkway One Way westbound; and

2.         that the Association instead endorse the elimination of several parking spots on the north side of 41st Drive, immediately east of the intersection with LNP; and

3.         that the Association also request a crossing guard to be posted at this intersection during school hours; and

4.         that the Association request a 4-way stop at the intersection of 41st Drive and Westmoreland St.

 

 The members were reminded that a "Yes" vote indicated opposition to the One Way proposal; a "No" vote indicated support of the One Way proposal.  They were also reminded that under our Bylaws, only members whose annual dues are paid up at the time are eligible to vote.  A maximum of two votes are permitted from any one household, provided that the $15.00 household dues have been paid. 

 

Thirteen "Yes" votes were cast, with one of those being ineligible because 2021 dues were not yet paid, leaving a total of twelve (12) "Yes" votes.  Ten (10) "No" votes were cast, and all those voters were eligible.  The Motion passed by a vote of 12-to-10.

 

Walter Mugdan said he would write to the CB-11 Transportation Committee (the recipient of the Association's September 22 letter endorsing the One Way proposal) to advise that is no longer the Association's formal position.  [The letter was sent on March 22, and is posted on our website along with previous letters on this subject.]

 

Electronic Recycling - St. Anastasia’s Parking lot.  Saturday May 22, 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.  The next meeting is May 17, 2021.         

 

Respectfully submitted,  Charles  Manna

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Minutes of the May 17, 2021General 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:

Jess Bravo

John Duane

Arasu Jambukeswaran

Peter Reinharz

Bob Timmerman

Phil Toscano

Namshik Yoon

 

Officials Present:

State Senator John Liu (and John Gallo – Community Liaison for Senator Liu)

 

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 $18,074.00 as of May 17, 2021.  Year to date: 63 families have paid their dues; $982.50 in dues collections, plus $492.50 in donations, plus $0.86 interest less $76.63 in expenses.   A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

Participation by NYPD:

 

We were joined by Captain Portalatin of the 111th NYPD Precinct.  He reported on local crime trends.  Almost all crimes are down, and the 111th is the safest precinct in the City.  There have been recent robberies, as well as some burglaries.  The Captain stressed the importance of keeping house doors and car doors locked.  He spoke about various scams, including those where phone callers say they are from the IRS and solicit information about individuals' bank accounts, etc.  He reminded everyone that the IRS or state tax collection agencies do not phone people and seek this kind of information.

 

The Captain was asked about anti-Asian violence and hate crimes in the precinct.  There was one incident where a person spat in the face of an Asian person, but no reports of physical violence.

 

Old Business

 

Patricia Yoon reported on the very successful 4th Annual Glenwood Landing Park Spring cleanup and planting held on April 10.  With over 30 participants this was the best attended park cleanup event to date.  Over 42 bags of trash and debris were collected, much of it from the north side of 39th Road, along the LIRR property.

 

Arasu Jambukeswaran reported on the first meeting of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) organized by the NYC Department of Homeless Services for engagement concerning the homeless shelter planned for 243-02 Northern Boulevard.  The meeting, held in early April, was very short -- less than 40 minutes -- and not very interactive.  There were presentations from DHS and from Samaritan Village which will operate the shelter.  The information presented was not new -- most of it had previously been provided at several meetings with Community Board 11, also attended by Westmoreland Association representatives.  The next CAB meeting will not be held until about 3-4 months after this first one.  The DHS does not ordinarily organize a CAB prior to opening a shelter; it agreed to do so in this instance at the suggestion and request of the Westmoreland Association, echoed by CB-11.  A couple of weeks after the CAB meeting Arasu reached out to the 24 other CAB members and asked whether they would wish to have a separate meeting among themselves to get better acquainted and share concerns, ideas, etc.  Only 7 of the members answered in the affirmative.  One member, representing the Douglaston Civic Association, replied that his organization is planning to sue the City over the shelter plan, and his reason for participating on the CAB is primarily to monitor the situation.  Victor Dadras recommended that Arasu schedule a separate meeting of the CAB notwithstanding the limited number of supportive members.

 

Dan Cho provided a presentation about NYC's Ranked Choice Voting system, which will be used in our area for the first time in the June 22 primary election.  (Dan serves as Assistant Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board.)   In summary: In short: each voter can select up to five candidates per office.  The candidates are ranked in order of preference.  That way, If there are no candidates who achieve 50% of all first choice votes, they can accumulate votes from those who ranked them second, then third, and so on.  This will eliminate the necessity of having run-off elections (which are costly and have extremely poor turnouts).  More information is available at: www.nyccfb.info/NYC_Votes/Ranked_Choice_Voting

 

New Business:

 

State Senator Jon Liu spoke briefly to the membership about the state budget and other work underway in the state legislature.  He spoke about anti-Asian hate crimes, and announced an Asian Fun-Run event at 9 Am on 5/23, starting at Totten Road at the north end of the Joe Michaels Mile. 

 

Walter Mugdan made several announcements:

 

  • There will be an electronics waste recycling event from 10 to 4 on 5/22 at the St. Anastasia church parking lot.

  • There will be a free document shredding event from 10 to noon on 5/22 at the Bay Terrace shopping center parking lot.

  • The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade will once again not be held this year due to the pandemic.  However, there will be two events on 5/31: an interfaith service at 10 am at the Little Neck Community Church and a wreath-laying ceremony at 11:30 am at the monument at the east end of the St. Anastasia church parking lot.  Also, the flags are being installed along Northern Boulevard.

  • The Parade Committee is also holding a fund raiser, a "300 box raffle"  open to a maximum of 300 participants.  You donate $100 and select up to five numbers between 1 and 300; one of those numbers will be assigned to you (if not yet assigned to anyone else).  When all 300 boxes are sold, a winning number between 1 and 300 will be drawn.  The contributor with that number will receive $10,000 and the balance will be used for Parade expenses. 

  • The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee has cleared the trails through the various local park segments of excess vegetation, and invites people to include the trails in walks they may take around the community.

 

Victor Dadras mentioned that the Douglaston & Little Neck Historical Society would be holding its annual meeting on 5/22 at 2 PM over Zoom, and that the featured speaker would be Walter Mugdan, talking about environmental issues affecting our communities.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 PM.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, September 20, 2021.  However, if weather permits, the meeting may be rescheduled to Sunday afternoon, September 19, to be held outdoors at our Glenwood Landing Park.

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Minutes of the September 20, 2021 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

Namshik Yoon

Robert Timmerman

John Duane

Jess Bravo

Arasu Jambukeswaran

Victor Dadras

 

Officials Present

John Gallo – Deputy Chief of Staff for New York State Senator John Liu

Amber Yoon - Office of Assemblyman Ed Braunstein

 

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 $18.062.36 as September 20, 2019.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

 

Once again, the meeting was held virtually as a safety precaution due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Hurricane Ida - Although most houses in the neighborhood experienced minimal damage and/or flooding, there were significant problems in Udalls Cove Park, at Gabler's Creek and Aurora Pond.  Heavy rain washed garbage and flotsam into the creek and pond.  Walter contributed his time and effort in the cleanup.  The Parks department took away the trash that was removed from the water.  There is still debris that  needs to be removed from the culvert through which the creek flows under the railroad.  Also, there was a sewage leak in the "Ravine" portion of the park, with foul-smelling raw sewage running into the creek.  After several complaints to 3-1-1 the leak was stopped. 

 

The Fourth Annual Fall Cleanup at Glenwood Landing Park (the Triangle Park at the intersection of Glenwood and 39th Road) will take place on Saturday, October 30, 2021 from 10 AM to 1 PM.  [This is a change from the 10/23 date reported at the meeting.]  Over thirty people showed up for the Spring event, and we hope for a good turnout for this Fall cleanup as well.  The event is expected to be co-sponsored by the Douglaston Garden Club.  The NYC Partnership for Parks will supply gardening tools.  Volunteers are asked to wear COVID masks.  A free pizza lunch will be provided for all volunteers.

 

Rank Choice Voting - Presented by Dan Cho.  Contrary to what Walter wrote in the September 20 meeting notice letter, Ranked Choice Voting will NOT be used for the New York City General Election on November 2, 2021.  [Since 2021 Ranked Choice Voting IS being used in NYC Primary and Special Elections. More information is available at: www.nyccfb.info/NYC_Votes/Ranked_Choice_Voting.  In those elections, each voter can select up to five candidates per office.  The candidates are ranked in order of preference.  That way, If there are no candidates who achieve 50% of the votes cast, they can accumulate votes from the losers.  This will eliminate the necessity of having run-off elections (which are costly and have extremely poor turnouts).]  Early Voting in the 2021 NYC General Election will run from October 23-31.  We anticipate that the nearest early voting location will once again be at Creedmore Hospital.

 

Other news:  Victor Dadras reported that Stop & Shop  will be closing permanently on Thursday, October 14th.  We do not know whether a new supermarket may take over the location.  We are aware of entirely unsubstantiated rumors about possible future uses for the property that some residents might consider undesirable, but these have no credibility.)

 

The planned women’s homeless shelter – to be located on Northern Blvd in Douglaston is under renovation.  It will be temporary housing for homeless women aged 50 and above.  They will be sharing bedrooms in dormitory-style quarters with 8-10 women per foom.   The position of our organization is to keep a close watch on the project through participation the Community Advisory Board (CAB) that has been established by the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS).  Other local organizations are also represented on the CAB.  Some residents don’t want the shelter to be operational at all.  Our position:

  1.  Once the shelter is open, the local civic organizations, through the CAB, should hold DHS and the shelter operator (Samaritan Village) accountable.

  2. Our representative on the CAB is Westmoreland Association Board member Arasu Jambukeswaran.  He reported that at our suggestion the CAB members  met informally in July to get better acquainted and discuss how the CAB can become more effective.  Opinions differed about whether the shelter should be here at all, in its presently intended format, with some firmly opposed and others open to some sort of shelter.  The Douglaston Civic Association is raising funds to pay for a lawsuit against DHS to stop the shelter.  Meanwhile, DHS is moving forward with the project.  We consider it unlikely that the project can be stopped -- the plans for the facility seem to comply with state code.  The contractor, Samaritan Village, claims that although there was initial opposition in other communities where shelters have been established, local residents in those communities have come to accept the facility once it opened and have even sought ways to engage with and help the persons sheltered there.  The planned Douglaston facility is relatively small.  The building has only two floors; 72-75  women will be housed there once it is up and running.  The goal is to provide temporary shelter and to help the women find permanent living quarters elsewhere.  Samaritan Village reports that their "success" rate in helping clients find permanent housing is 80%-85%.

 

Jess Bravo –

  1. The PS-94 Harvest Festival is probably not happening this year, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

  2. There will be Trick-or-Treaters in the neighborhood Sunday, October 31, 2021

 

Victor Dadras -

  1. The house at the northwest corner of Glenwood and 41st Ave. is finally complete after some five years of construction, the property is nicely landscaped, and the occupants have recently moved in.

  2. Zion Church, in conjunction with Community Church of Douglaston and the Douglaston Local Development Corporation, is hosting the last food pantry event on Sunday, September 25 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.

Walter Mugdan - 

  1. Glenwood Street: Kudos to the Town of North Hempsted.  In 2020, at our request, the Town enforced its stop-work order on the property at 41-25 Glenwood, when we reported that tthe owners were carrying out construction on the weekends without a Town permit.  In early September, 2021 we reported that significant amounts of  trash from the construction work had been stored for months on the driveway.  The Town took action and the owner has removed the trash.

  2. Long Island Railroad - replaced wooden ties with concrete and did other work on track and substrate refurbishment  this Summer.  The work was completed from Great Neck to Bayside.  Riders report that the trains run much smoother now.  Residents on adjacent 39th Road reported that the noise and disruption from the work, which was conducted mostly at night, was not much of a problem.

  3. "SAFE" Disposal Event – The NYC Department of Sanitation will hold a SAFE Disposal event at the Frances Lewis Blvd. entrance to Cunningham Park on Saturday, October 9th from 10 AM to 4 PM, rain or shine.  You can bring for disposal a wide variety of wastes including automobile batteries, anti-freeze, and oil; electronics such as computers, cell phones. mice, tablets, and TVs; household products such as paint, pesticides, batteries, spray cans, old fire extinguishers, thermostats, and fluorescent lightbulbs (including compact fluorescents); and medical items such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs, syringes, thermometers, etc.  Do NOT bring applicances such as air conditioners and refrigerators; and do not bring car tires.  New this year: Advance Registration to reserve a timeslot is required at: on.nyc.gov/SAFE-QNS

 

Jon Gallo –

  • State Senator John Liu welcomed school children back.  He discussed storm damage which was relatively minor in our area, though elsewhere there was significant flooding of basements and highways, and tragic loss of life. 

  • Sen. Liu is working on creating a law that will require “Truth in Recycling.”  Most plastic that is placed in recycling containers is not recyclable, even though the item may have the familiar triangle symbol.  Usually only those that are labeled one or two are recycled.  The rest end up as common trash.  On September 22, 2021, John Liu will host a public hearing regarding plastic recycling at Cunningham Park.

  • Sen. Liu expects to attend our next meeting.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.  The next meeting will be November 15, 2021.           

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

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