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Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Association
September 29, 2009
The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by President Walter Mugdan. 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). Treasurer Gary Savage gave the Treasurer�s Report indicating that the balance-on-hand was $16,453.36 as of September 21, 2009. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer�s report. The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.
Gary Savage mentioned the membership is down slightly from the past. President Mugdan said that membership in the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee is steady, but contributions are down. The assumption is that the poor economy may be affecting people�s willingness or ability to make their dues payments.
Proposal for the LIRR station quiet zone � the latest information: A letter was received from Maureen McCarthy (the Queens Borough Commissioner) on July 10, 2009. It was a �Notice of Intent� to create a new quiet zone, part of the process that will culminate in new quad gates being constructed at the Little Neck railroad crossing. A sixty day period is set aside for public comment. Contracts have not been set yet. The job will be done by the NYC DOT, not by the MTA. Mr. Mugdan anticipated that the pace will continue to be slow, but at least the project is in progress. We have support from Congressman Ackerman and State Senator Padavan. We will seek to meet with the person who succeeds Tony Avella as City Councilman and also request his support for this project. The Westmoreland Association will continue to press the city bureaucracy to move forward as fast as possible.
Building Codes: A formal process has been put in place for citizens to challenge plans for a new building or significant modification of an existing building. Architects are still able to self-certify their plans and drawings. However now the summary drawings of the plans will go online when the application is submitted. There is a forty-five day period subsequent to the online posting during which the plans can be challenged by any member of the public. If the Buildings Department doesn�t agree with the challenge, then there is a fifteen day appeal period.
Because there is no way to get notified when a new set of plans is posted on the buildings department web site, Mr. Mugdan appeals to the membership to let the Board know as soon as they become aware of a new home being built or an extension being done to an existing home. With the new R2-A zoning in our neighborhood, this is particularly important. The new zoning rule states that the new house cannot be placed forward of the set-backs of the adjacent homes, even if a lesser setback would otherwise comply with the minimum specified in the zoning rules. This is especially important in our community, because the Westmoreland area Protective Covenants require a minimum 20� setback, whereas the minimum setback specified in the zoning rule is 15�. However, because of the special provision about adjacent homes, the zoning rule will in fact require at least a 20� setback throughout the Westmoreland community. It has been our experience to date that architects and engineers may not be fully aware of the adjacency provision, so vigilance on our part is important. The summary plans for new buildings or significant modifications can be seen on the Buildings Department web site: www.nyc.gov/buildings.
Staffing Cuts: Because of the city�s fiscal crisis, the staffing at the Community Board 11 offices has been cut by thirty percent.
Long Term Parking Problem: The city requires that a car be moved within a seven day period if it is parked on the street. However, the Police Department will wait seven days after it has been notified before ticketing a car. That means, effectively, that a car can stay in one spot for at least fourteen days before it will be towed. There are questions about dealing with cars that block driveway access. Evidently, the police say that if a homeowner can squeeze in and out of the driveway, then that offending vehicle will not be ticketed.
At the suggestion of one of our members, a motion was made to ask the City to set aside a day for street cleaning on each block in our community. For several hours on the specified day parking would not be permitted. The days and/or hours would alternate on different blocks in the neighborhood. This would enable ticketing and/or towing of any car standing in the same spot on a street for at least seven full days. Motion Passed unanimously. Walter Mugdan will write to Commissioner McCarthy.
Address Confusion: For the second time this year, the USPS has returned some of the letters that were mailed to the membership to announce today�s meeting. The letters were from some of the houses on Nassau Street. There is no pattern or reason for the mistake. The Little Neck Post Office sent us to the Great Neck PO to find out why this is happening. The Great Neck PO manager apologized (as he had done on the previous occasion that this happened, in March 2009). He suggested the problem was due to an inexperienced mail carrier.
The next meeting will be held on November 16, 2009.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.
Charles Manna, Secretary
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