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Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Association
March 24, 2014
President � Walter Mugdan
Treasurer � Gary Savage
Secretary � Charles Manna
Board Members Present
Steve Masillo � Aide to Assemblyman Edward Bronstein.
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 gave the Treasurer�s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $18,850.92 as of November 24, 2013. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer�s report. The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.
Old Business �
Regarding the enforcement of the covenants by the NYC Department of Buildings, the Westmoreland Homeowners Association continued to press for the passage of legislation to require the New York City Department of Buildings to flag the existence of covenants attached to our deeds in the DOB database. We met in September with the other Ricker-Finlay communities in Queens (Douglas Manor and Broadway-Flushing). We wrote to the then candidates running for local offices to find out if they would support us. Peter Vallone, now our City Councilman, said that he would support such legislation. State Sen. Avella and State Assemblyman Braunstein have since proposed legislation in Albany. Steve Masillo reported that the legislation is in committee.
Questions: If the legislation passes, and a circumstance arises when the Buildings Dep�t. fails to make note of a covenant (or erroneously concludes it does not apply), can we still enforce?
Answer: We believe so, but Walter Mugdan will follow up. [Walter subsequently corresponded with Sen. Avella and Assemblyman Braunstein recommending � in an excess of caution � that language be added to the bill clarifying explicitly that we can enforce the covenants ourselves regardless of what the City Buildings Department does or does not do. Sen. Avella replied that he would make that change to the bill.]
Traffic in the neighborhood remains a concern. The Association wrote to the New York State Department of Transportation requesting that speed bumps be installed on Glenwood between 41st Drive and Northern Boulevard to slow traffic. Assemblyman Braunstein supported this endeavor in a letter to the City Transportation Department. DOT replied that at least one speed bump will be installed when funds are available. The Association thanks Senator Braunstein for his support.
Westmoreland Homeowner Association elections
The Current Roster of Board Members was re-elected.
The Current Roster of Executive Officers was re-elected.
Paul Vallone � Newly elected City Council Member representing our district, will host a meeting with civic association leader on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Councilman Vallone sent a questionnaire to us. It is designed to allow us to identify for him the issues that are of most importance to us. We will identify for him as our highest priority the above-referenced legislation regarding our covenants, and we will attach to the survey his letter (while a candidate) endorsing our suggestion.
In addition, we will identify various parking-related issues as a matter of concern. These include better enforcement of the maximum 7-day parking rule; creation of a no parking period of several hours at least once a week; and increasing the metered parking on Northern Blvd from one hour to two hours.
David Diaz said that there is a large RV that has been parked on 43rd Ave for months. Others pointed out that it has moved on occasion so it is not in violation.
Newly Elected Mayor Bill DeBlasio has reportedly advocated the legalization of currently illegal basement apartments, and currently illegal two- and three-family apartments in dwellings zoned for single family use, to provide additional lodging as a way to alleviate the chronic low-cost housing problem. The Association unanimously rejects this approach. It was pointed out that the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings would likely oppose legalization of such dangerous living quarters.
Victor Dadras expressed concern about the �down grading� of the shopping district along Northern Blvd. He feels that the buildings in our neighborhood that are in violation of the fifth covenant should be notified that they are in violation. Covenant five states: �No lot or building the business sections shall be used for any business which shall constitute a nuisance.� Motion made and passed for the President to write a letter to the owner of the buildings that are in violation of the covenant. This is particularly true of the video store that has the mannequins in the front window dressed in a lascivious manner.
Community Board 11 � has new leadership. The District Manager is still Susan Seinfeld.
Chairperson � Christine Haider (replacing Jerry Ianecce)
Vice Chairs � Laura James, Ocelia Claro, Eileen Muller
The Association notes with sadness the passing of Rod O�Connell. He managed Bryce Rea Real Estate and was a long-time resident of Douglas Manor and had an additional apartment in Manhattan.
Participatory Budgeting � Local municipal elected officials are asking community leaders to suggest ideas for capital projects. People can champion ideas and get them written up. All residents in a community will then vote for their favorite. Last year, former Councilman Halloran set aside one million dollars to fund fifteen projects. Unfortunately, the city council took the money back after Halloran was arrested. Council Speaker Christine Quinn did restore some of the funding to the designated projects. New Councilman Peter Vallone may try to implement the Participatory Budgeting program again in the coming fiscal year. Projects can budget up to one million dollars, but most successful projects run in the $75K to $150K range.
Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade: Almost came to an end this year when its board of directors suddenly decided to dissolve itself. Fortunately, some of the directors and some other interested parties decided to revive the organization right away. The result is that the parade is still on. There is now a website called LNDMemorialDay.org. There is also a FaceBook Page and a Twitter account. A meeting will be held on March 26, 2013 to plan the parade.
45th Annual Udalls Cove Park Cleanup: Saturday, May 3, 2014 �� volunteers needed. Meet at 10 AM near Aurora Pond (on Sandhill Road, a/k/a the Back Road). Wear long pants and use sunscreen. Free picnic lunch for volunteers after the cleanup.
David Diaz suggested that the Association put up signs in the neighborhood asking people to clean up after their dogs.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM.
Charles Manna, Secretary
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