Minutes of the March 21, 2022 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

Jess Bravo

Arasu Jambukeswaran

John Duane

 

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 8:10 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 $18.367.68 as March 21, 2022.  There are currently 45 active members who paid $525 in dues, $620 were received as contributions.  Expenses for the past few months included $87 for Pizza at the past Glenwood Landing cleanup, $375 to Walter for 2021 mailing and other costs and $385 to Charles for mailing costs.  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.  Walter remarked that the next meeting will be held at the Glenwood Landing Park during the day on a weekend May 22, 2022, weather permitting.

 

The Current Field of Officers and Board members were re-elected for another year’s term.  Congratulations!

 

Walter Mugdan made several announcements:

 

  • Relaxing the single-family zoning restrictions.  Governor Kathy Hochul has given up her plans to propose legislation changing the zoning restrictions for single-family houses throughout the state.  The change would have permitted owners to create secondary "accessory dwelling units" (ADUs) inside or adjacent to the house on the same property.  The opposition to this was fierce and the threat of a political battle over the issue caused her to back off ... for now, at least.  However, similar legislation has been introduced by State Senators and Assembly members and remains active. The pressure to create more housing spaces for the general population is the motivation for the proposal.  There is a severe shortage of all types of housing throughout the United States.  There is no solution for this problem now.  The discussion included the pros and cons for this kind of housing.  A resolution was presented and passed unanimously to oppose the easing of restrictions on single-family housing that would allow second living quarters to be created, even if the house was modified to allow separate access.  Both Tom Suozzi and John Liu have publicly opposed the governor’s proposal.

 

  • Park Cleanup – The 5th Annual Spring Cleanup of the Glenwood Landing Park will take place on Saturday, April 23, from 9:30 to noon.  A free lunch will be provided for volunteers.  Tools, gloves and and leaf bags will be provided also.

 

  • Jordan Engel spoke to us at the last meeting.  He reported that the city is bringing back curbside composting pickups, on a district-by-district basis.  Unfortunately, the new Mayor, Erik Adams, has proposed to cancel the program; the program is now undergoing a review.

 

  • There will be a meeting at Councilmember Vickie Paladino’s office this Wednesday, March 23, 2022.  She replaced Paul Vallone as our district 19 Council person.  The topic will be the J-Mart supermarket.  The property is currently surrounded by construction fencing.  Vickie will host the meeting with a representative from the company that is going to occupy the space.  Charles Manna will attend and represent the Westmoreland Association.  [Charles subsequently reported that J-Mart will not be expanding the current building as they had contemplated; they will rehabilitate the current building.  The loading bay cannot be moved so access will still be off Marathon Parkway.  They responded positively to our request that the store provide a wide assortment of groceries to appeal to all ethnicities; they are aware there is a large senior population living nearby who depend on a store that will provide for them.  They have surrounded the entire property with a construction fence to deter vandalism and occupation by vagrants.]

 

  • The planned women’s homeless shelter to be located on Northern Blvd in Douglaston is under renovation. The construction was halted for a while, but now seems to have resumed.

 

  • Rooftop Solar Panels – Walter is planning on hosting an information meeting soon to explain the benefits of solar panels.  Both he and the Manna house next door have had the panels installed. 

 

  • Namshik Yoon - reported that in February there was an armed robbery at H-Mart.  There was an arrest in the neighborhood.  Also, a runaway teen was caught by the police in the neighborhood.  Two weeks ago, both the Armenian Church and the Community Church of Douglaston were burglarized.  TV’s and other electronic equipment were stolen.

 

  • Red BMW Coupe has been rusting away in the neighborhood since last August, having never been moved, with one window wide open the whole time.  Walter called the 111th to report the derelict car, and in early March wrote a letter to the precinct which resulted in a detective responding.  The car was subsequently moved; unfortunately, the car -- which is apparently owned by a neighbor -- was simply moved to another location two blocks away, and is again not being moved.  The law prohibits parking a vehicle in the same place for more than 7 days.  Walter will bring the problem to the attention of the NYPD again.

 

  • Car Keying – is still happening in the neighborhood.  Especially, in the area around the Westmoreland and 41st Ave. block.  Walter will address this issue at the May meeting with the NYPD and its community affairs officer.

 

  • Wiley Coyote – Coyotes have been spotted in the Douglas Manor and Udalls Cove and Oakland areas.  It is not clear whether they are passing though or are settling in.  They will go after cats and small dogs... so, be sure to keep them inside or on leash.

 

  • Udalls Cove – April 9th – The 53rd Annual Udalls Cove Shoreline, Wetlands and Woodlands Cleanup.  Come to Aurora Pond on Sandhill Road (the Back Road) anytime between 9:00 and noon to receive trash bags, work gloves, and a map advising where help is most needed.

 

            April 2nd at 4 PM – the 53rd Annual Udalls Cove Preservation Committee membership meeting will be held virtually by Zoom.

 

  • Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

    • Fund Raiser – Monahan and Fitzgerald – April 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 at 214-17 41 Ave, Bayside.

    • 300 Club – Purchase one or more boxes for $100 each for a chance to win $10,000.  Drawing will happen when all the boxes are sold.

    • May 30, 2022 – The parade will commence at 2:00.  The Westmoreland Association will march; all are invited to join us -- we gather next to the Starbucks parking lot at 55 Northern Blvd (near Great Neck Road). 

    • Prayer gathering – will take at the former Little Neck Community Church the morning of the parade

    • Breakfast - will be held the morning of the parade at Father Smith Hall

 

  • Queens Historical Society - will host a program on the History of Little Neck and Douglaston on May 22 at 2:30. It will be both virtual through YouTube and in-person at the Kingsland Homestead (143-35 37 Ave, Flushing).  The cost will be $5 adults/$3 Seniors).

 

  • Jon Gallo ­– There will be an e-Waste event held at the St. A’s parking lot.  Probably the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.  There will be an announcement soon.  Document shredding service may also be available. Also, a “Fun Run” is planned for the Joe Michaels Mile along the Cross-Island Parkway.  Jon will let us know when the dates are set.

 

  • The annual NYC budget – is due soon.  A large percentage of the budget is education related.  Moneys are going to be allocated to CUNY/SUNY and libraries.  There is budget planned for Homeowners and Renters assistance.

 

  • A clothing drive is planned at PS94 soon.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.  The next meeting will be held either on Sunday, May 22 (outside at Glenwood Landing Park), or Monday, May 23, 2022 (hopefully in person at the Little Neck Community Church).         

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

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Minutes of the May 14, 2022 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

Jess Bravo

Arasu Jambukeswaran

John Duane

 

Officials Present

Officer Gallano – Community Affairs – 111 Precinct   

 

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 4:00 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 $18.805.82 as May 14, 2022.  A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

 

The meeting was held at the Glenwood Landing Park (AKA Triangle Park) as a safety precaution due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Office Luigi Gallano from the 111 Precinct Community Affairs Unit spoke.  He gave some Year-to-Date statistics:

This year/Last Year:

Grand Larcency – 189/119 incidents

Car Stolen – 34/20

Burglaries – 189/119 (only three in our neighborhood – all during the day)

Gun Point robberies – 2/3 (all were arrested)

 

Fresh Meadows – perp was shot in the hand.  He fled and was arrested in Nassau County.

 

The most common thefts are the catalytic converter.  They are easy to remove from the car and are a source of precious metals.  The most popular cars are Honda, Toyota and Accura models. The converter can be removed in seconds.   The perps use loud music to cover the noise created by the saws.  There are preventative kits available to deter the thefts.  A cut-resistant cord is wrapped around the converter.

 

Any questions, please contact Officer Galano at luigi.gilano@nypd.ord

 

Q: What to do about cars that are parked for a long time in the neighborhood?

A:  Call 311 - NOT the precinct

 

Walter Mugdan made several announcements:

 

  • The Douglaston Garden Club – contributed flowers that were planted in the park during our recent 5th Annual Spring Cleanup..

  • Department of Transportation – eliminated parking spots on Little Neck Parkway at Bates to ease traffic flow.

  • The Westmoreland Association – wrote a thank you letter to Ed Braunstein for his efforts to restrict the use of gas-powered leaf blowers from May to October.

  • Walter will host a Zoom session next Wednesday – to discuss the installation of Solar Panels.

  • Saturday, May 21st – Electronic recycling will  be held at St. A’s from 10:00 to 2:00

 

  • Relaxing the single-family zoning restrictions.  Governor Kathy Hochul has given up her plans to propose legislation changing the zoning restrictions for single-family houses throughout the state.  The change would have permitted owners to create secondary "accessory dwelling units" (ADUs) inside or adjacent to the house on the same property.  The opposition to this was fierce and the threat of a political battle over the issue caused her to back off ... for now, at least.  However, similar legislation has been introduced by State Senators and Assembly members and remains active. The pressure to create more housing spaces for the general population is the motivation for the proposal.  There is a severe shortage of all types of housing throughout the United States.  There is no solution for this problem now.  The discussion included the pros and cons for this kind of housing.  A resolution was presented and passed unanimously to oppose the easing of restrictions on single-family housing that would allow second living quarters to be created, even if the house was modified to allow separate access.  Both Tom Suozzi and John Liu have publicly opposed the governor’s proposal.

 

  • JMart - There was a meeting at Councilmember Vickie Paladino’s office on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.  The topic was the J-Mart supermarket that will be coming to the former Stop-and-Shop location.  The property is currently surrounded by construction fencing.  Vickie hosted the meeting with a representative from the company.  Charles Manna attended to represent the Westmoreland Association.  J-Mart will not be expanding the current building as they had contemplated; they will rehabilitate the current building.  The loading bay cannot be moved so access will still be off Marathon Parkway.  They responded positively to our request that the store provide a wide assortment of groceries to appeal to all ethnicities; they are aware there is a large senior population living nearby who depend on a store that will provide for them.  They have surrounded the entire property with a construction fence to deter vandalism and occupation by vagrants.

 

  • Zoning Change – There is a proposal to change the zoning along Northern Blvd from the Chevy dealership to Mizumi (currently zoned Residential one-family) to commercial (C-2). (The commercial establishments there operate with temporary variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals; the variances are typically 10 years in duration.) This zoning change would allow the Mizumi owners to add additional parking and to double the square footage of their building.  Other property owners could also build larger establishments. The community board voted unanimously against the proposal because of the fear that the area would be used to build another tall building; and because the entire area was promised to the community as parkland in the late 1960s/early 1970s.  [This promise applied to and was fulfilled with respect to the rest of Northern Blvd between Douglaston and Bayside; that entire area on both sides of the street is part of Alley Pond Park.]  There is hope in the community that in due course, these properties that currently have commercial establishments can be added to the park as well.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.  The next meeting will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2022, again at Glenwood Landing Park.

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary

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Minutes of the September 17, 2022 General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Homeowners Association

 

Officers Present:

President - Walter Mugdan

Treasurer – Gary Savage

Secretary – Charles Manna

 

Board Members Present: Namshik Yoon, Jess Bravo, Peter Reinharz

 

Officials Present  John Gallo – Assistant to State Senator Liu.

 

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 4:05 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 $18.709.96 as September 17, 2022.  Gary mentioned that there are currently 67 families that have paid the annual dues.  This is an all-time low for the association.  We need to get more people to participate and pay up.   A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded, and the report was unanimously approved.

 

New Business

 

The meeting was held at the Glenwood Landing Park (AKA Triangle Park) as a safety precaution due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Bob Timmerman, current board member and former Westmoreland Association President, resigned, because he will be spending most of all of his time in California.  The board thanks Bob for his years of service to the Association.  He  will be missed.

 

A presentation was made by Kate Sundberg, representative of the Department of Sanitation for New York City.  She announced that the curbside composting program will resume soon.  Kate handed out flyers that explained the program. 

  • Kate also announced that the Sanitation Department will host a  “SAFE” Waste Day on October 8, 2022 from 10:00 to 2:00.  The lines can be very long.  So, either show up early or plan on entering immediately by foot or pulling a cart.

  • Walter mentioned that hazardous and electronic waste drop-off is available every Saturday at the College Point waste disposal facility.

  • Walter also mentioned that the annual Glennwood Park cleanup will happen on Saturday, November 12, 2022 from 10:00 to 2:00.  Hopefully, most of the leaves will be down on the ground.

  • A member mentioned that there are now two attractive, homemade “No Littering” signs on 39th Road, one near Little Neck Parkway and the other near Nassau Road.  Also, the neighbors living across from the one near Little Neck Parkway are planting and cleaning a 50-100 foot section of the strip of land on the railroad side of 39th Road. 

 

Crime:

  • Former NYPD Community Affairs Officer Galiano has transferred to another duty.  He has been replaced by two new officers.  They are Officer Claire Boyle (Claire.boyle@NYPD.org) and Officer Michael Cillis (Michael.Cillis@NYPD.org).

  • Catalytic Converters – Due to the presence of precious metals in them, they are the new object for thieves recently.  They are easy to cut and steal.  Gangs drive up to a car and play loud music to cover the noise of a reciprocating saw cutting the converter loose, which can take as little as 90 seconds. Jon Gallo announced that Sen. Liu introduced legislation to help reduce the practice by requiring junk dealers to get written documentation demonstrating legitimacy for each converter.  They must report regularly to the State Police about all purchases of the converters and who they purchased them from.  A motion was made and seconded and passed to support the passage of the bill.  [A letter supporting the legislation was sent to Sen. Liu on September 24.]

 

  • There have been several disturbances in the neighborhood recently.  Pat Yoon reported that a doorbell camera recorded a man trying to open car doors on Westmoreland Street at 4 AM in July.  He even tried doors of cars parked in driveways.  Another perpetrator was recorded by a door-bell camera walking up a sidewalk of a house on 41st Drive at 4:30 AM; he noticed the camera and then turned and left.  Another neighbor reported that his car was broken into, and property worth $2,000 stolen (including his wedding ring).

  • A person who has been "keying: cars for some time was caught red-handed on several cameras, including a Tesla on-board set of cameras.  One of the victims  confronted the perpetrator, who is a long-time resident of the neighborhood.  The perpetrator paid for repairs on a number of cars.  It is not clear if the police are involved.

 

Class Size Reduction – John Gallo also reported that NYS legislation was passed that restricts the size of public-school classes.

  • K – 3rd grade – 20 students max

  • 4 – 8th grade – 23 students max

  • 9 – 12th grade – 25 students max

 

Future Meetings:  Edge City Church – formerly the Community Church of Little Neck, where we held our meetings for decades prior to the pandemic, has increased the charge for using its facilities to $400 for each meeting, which is prohibitive for us.  For the immediate future, until and unless we identify a suitable alternate location, we will hold our November and March meetings over Zoom, and our September and May meetings at Glenwood Landing Park.

 

Homeless Shelter:  Conversion of Pride of Judea building to a Women’s Shelter – There is no new news at this point.  Westmoreland Board member Arasu Jambukeswaran is on the Community Advisory Board. More than a week before the meeting he sought an update from the Department of Homeland Services, but no response was received.  [Work appears to have resumed recently on reconstruction of the building.]

 

Accessory Dwelling Units -- As was mentioned at previous meetings, Governor Hochul withdrew her proposed legislation changing the zoning restrictions for single-family houses throughout the state to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in all single-family zoned areas.  She withdrew the proposal due to heavy negative pressure from all sides of the political spectrum. However, similar proposals are still active in the legislature, though no action has been taken on these as yet.  Our organization is opposed to such legislation.

 

Redistricting: John Gallo announced that under redistricting, as of 2023 our community will be in a district currently represented by State Senator Toby Stavisky, and not Sen. Liu. Who our State Senator will be as of 2023 will depend on the outcome of the November 2022 election.

 

Zoning Change: – Walter repeated the situation at the Mazumi property on Northern Blvd, in Douglaston.  There is a proposal to change the zoning along Northern Blvd from the Chevy dealership to Mazumi (currently zoned Residential one-family) to commercial (C-2).  This would allow the Mazumi owners to add additional parking and to double the square footage of their building. The community board voted against the proposal because of the fear that the area would be used to build another tall building.  There is hope in the community that the property can be added to Alley Pond Park, as was promised the community in the 1960s and 1970s, and as was in fact done with all the other property on both sides of Northern Blvd. between Douglaston and Bayside.  Unfortunately, the Borough President and the NYC Planning Commission endorsed the rezoning, and the City Council seem poised to change the plan to allow the Mizumi property to be rezoned form residential to commercial.  That would increase the value of the property significantly and make it even more difficult for the Parks Department to budget the purchase of the property.  It would also create a precedent for similar rezoning of the remaining properties under consideration.

 

PS94 Elementary School – The city decided to replace the relatively new windows throughout the building; the new windows are more energy efficient, and the replacement is supposed to pay for itself in about 5-6 years.  The city also did some asbestos abatement in connection with the window project, and replaced the gym floor.  Supply chain delays affected the project; windows that were supposed to be delivered in April did not arrive until July.  Most of the scaffolding has now been removed.  However, the dumpster is still on the street.  The dumpster is overflowing, and trash is falling onto the street. [On September 19 Walter phoned the dumpster company to request its removal; it was removed on September 21.]

 

Red Light and Speed Cameras – Redlight cameras are on Northern at Marathon and Douglaston Parkways.  Speed cameras are on Northern near Divine Wisdom school (at St. Anastasia's Church, near Alameda) and on Little Neck Parkway in front of PS 94 and on Marathon Parkway near Middle School 67. These speed cameras now run 24 hours a day, not only during school hours.

 

Historic Maps - Walter received a packet of three maps of the original Westmoreland development dating from 1907 and 1909.  The maps show were the original Wooley farm house was located (the development was built on what had been the Wooley farm), and shows the original names of our streets.  For example:

  • 42 Ave was Lafayette Street

  • 40 Ave was Bayview Street

The maps also show the prices at which lots were being sold.  The lots have nominal sizes of either 40 X 100 feet or 50 X 100 feet.  They sold for $450 to $550.  Corner lots cost $200 extra.  The maps indicate that lots could be purchased for payments of $10 per month. The block on which the original Wooley farmhouse was located was not part of the Westmoreland development.  (That block is the one bounded by what is currently 42 Ave, Little Neck Parkway, 43rd Ave and Westmorland Street.)

 

JMart Supermarket - Charles Manna represented the Westmoreland Association at a meeting several months ago with J-Mart.  J-Mart will not be expanding the current building as they had contemplated; they will rehabilitate the current building.  The loading bay cannot be moved so access will still be off Marathon Parkway.  They responded positively to our request that the store provide a wide assortment of groceries to appeal to all ethnicities; they are aware there is a large senior population living nearby who depend on a store that will provide for them.  They have surrounded the entire property with a construction fence to deter vandalism and occupation by vagrants.

 

Bike Lanes – Walter reported on behalf of Victor Dadras (our Association Vice President, and chair of the Community Board 11 Transportation Committee) that the NYC Department of Transportation plans to add additional bike lanes in Queens.  There has been some vocal opposition, but DOT will nevertheless proceed.  Victor proposes to establish an advisory group to review the proposed additional lanes.  The DOT is creating a network of inter-connecting lanes across the city.  So far, the plans do not extend East of the Cross Island Parkway.  This is part of the SAFE Streets program that is being developed by DOT.  The purpose is to encourage alternative modes of transportation to help ease traffic congestion.

 

Coming Events

  • September 20th – NYPD "Build the Block" meeting at Admiral Park

  • September 27th – Senior Appreciation Day

  • September 29th – A Pool-Side Pizza Party at the Bay Terrace Pool Club

  • October 15th – E-Waste collection at St. A’s from 10:00 to 2:00

 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.  The next meeting will be held on Monday, November 21 via Zoom.

 

Respectfully submitted, Charles Manna, Secretary