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Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Association
May 21, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 8:08 P.M. by the Association President Walter
Mugdan. The reading of the minutes of the March 19, 2006 meeting was waived.
Treasurer Gary Savage gave the Treasurer’s Report. A motion was made to accept
that report. The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.
Was delayed in order to permit the Honored guests to speak first. They were:
• Steve Newman – the new chair of Community Board 11.
• Jerry Ianecce – The former chair of CB 11
Also present was Susan Seinfeld, District Manager of CB 11. Mr. Mugdan also noted that our own Tom Lloyd in now a member of the Community Board – congratulations Tom!
Mr. Newman noted that he has been on the Community Board for the past eighteen years, including time spent as the budget co-chair. CB11 includes the area from Auburndale on the west, Hollis Hills (north of the G. C. P.) to the south and 26 Ave to the north. Fort Totten is not included.
One of the recent projects that the CB has been involved in is the rezoning of select sections of Little Neck, Douglaston and Bayside.
Future Issues for CB-11 attention include:
• Further re-zoning is under discussion in Hollis Hills and Bayside’s Oakland Lake neighborhood.
• LIRR – Quiet Zone: Little Neck is the last community in NYC to have a whistle stop railroad grade crossing. It is extremely annoying to the residents near the station. Under recent federal regulations, the trains must blow their whistles even longer than in the past.
o One solution is to have a 100 foot median installed on Little Neck Parkway running north and south of the railroad crossing. This would prevent vehicles from attempting to circumvent the crossing gates when they are down and convince the Federal authorities that it would be safe to reduce the required whistle blowing by approaching trains.
o Another more expensive solution would to have four full sized gates instead of the current two. The estimated cost is almost $800,000.
• Sewer and gas lines are being installed in the Westmoreland neighborhood from 39 Ave. to 41 Drive. The area north of the LIRR would be done in 2010.
Jerry was formerly president of the Bayside Hills Association. That organization was instrumental in pushing for the restoration of Oakland Lake. That restoration is currently happening now. He discussed --
• Expansion of the Little Neck public library. The library is currently 7,500 square feet in total area. The current need is for a 15,000 s. f. library. The Douglaston Women’s Club is currently pushing for a larger library. The CB would like to enlist Westmoreland Association’s support for this initiative. It is estimated that moving to a new site would cost at least $13,000,000. A preliminary estimate of purchasing the adjacent lot (on Northern Blvd) and expanding the library up and out would cost the same.
Q & A:
Victor Dadras – a Westmoreland resident and professional architect -- strongly disagrees with the cost estimates. He feels that the expansion will run about $150 - $200 per square foot (plus the purchase of the lot). Victor was chief archetect for the expansion of the library in Forest Hills, so his estimate is based on experience.
Q. How to finance the project? Susan Seinfeld replied that the library system must agree that there is a need for the expansion. However, the system cannot fund the project. They only have a budget to finance small capital projects and running expenses. Once they declare that there is such a need, then the funds will have to be budgeted by elected officials. They may have to allocate funds over several budget years to raise the necessary amoiunt.
Tom Lloyd offered a motion: “Resolved that Westmoreland Association support a plan to achieve a 15,000 s. f. facility for the Douglaston-Little Neck Branch of the Queensborough Public Library.”
Comments – Most members support a library expansion, but want to see a budget that is more realistic.
The motion passed.
Walter Mugdan discussed a letter from State Assembly Member ------- that concerns legislative efforts to strengthen New York City Building Department enforcement of its own rules. There will be a series of bills presented to the state legislature. The proposed legislative package has a number of elements, including the following:
• The NYC Buildings Department (DOB) would have to notify Community Boards of all construction permits, and certain other actions and information.
• DOB could not issue a Certificate of Occupancy until all fines are paid.
• Community Boards could request 30 DOB audits per year, and plans would have to be forwarded to the Community Board within 5 days of request.
• DOB would have to re-inspect and ensure correction of all hazardous violations.
• DOB could refuse to accept filings by any persons found to have knowingly or negligently submitted false documents to the DOB in the past.
• General contractors would have to be licensed by the City, and licenses could be revoked for wilful violations of certain laws.
• Contractors would be held liable for damage caused by excavation.
• Grants of $500,000 would be made available to a not-for-profit organization in each Borough to provide legal, technical and professional assistance in the public interest regarding zoning, planning and building/construction issues.
Q & A.
Comments were made by several members that the bills seemed to be ineffective for the most part. Nevertheless, a motion was made and seconded to endorse this legislation, but urge stronger measures. The motion passed.
Our next meetings will be on September 17 and November 19, 2007.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.
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