So far 2020 has been a year like no other. Since the start of the pandemic in March, and the ensuing quarantine, we have been asked to readjust our lives. It is no different for us here at BFHA. If it seems like a lifetime ago since we had our last General Membership Meeting, that is because in some ways it has been. Due to pandemic related constraints, we were forced to cancel our meetings in March and May, as well as this month’s scheduled meeting. The good news is that, through it all, we have not stopped working for you. In June, a new board of officers was installed via a zoom meeting, where I assumed the role of president. On behalf of myself and the membership, I would like to thank Kevin Morris, for his dedication to our organization over the years. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity as immediate past president.
In order to keep you up to date, we have included all of the information that would have been presented at our general meeting in this newsletter, including a detailed interview with NY State Senator John Liu. He graciously answered the questions that were submitted via email by our members. I am sure that you will find it informative. We have also included some information that we feel will help you navigate the months ahead. Please note that the MTA Bus Rerouting Plan is indefinitely on hold due to the pandemic, as are any litigations that the BFHA is involved in. I am happy to report that we have successfully petitioned the owners of a property bound by the Rickert Finlay covenant to revise their plans to bring their new home into compliance prior to construction. Thanks to Janet McCreesh for her continued diligence in this area.
This past summer we updated our email capabilities. Please note our new email addresses are Info@broadwayflushing.org and President@broadwayflushing.org. You can send your comments or concerns to either address and someone will get back to you shortly. Additionally, we will now be able to keep in touch with our members through email alerts on a regular basis, so be sure and add these addresses to your address book and check your inbox. If you are on social media, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for important information relevant to our community, and, as always, you can get information on our website.
Finally, we lost one of our own to the Coronavirus in March when board member Joe Brostek was felled by the disease. He was an energetic presence at every BFHA meeting and community event, where he held court with his ever-present smile and extensive knowledge. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family during this difficult time. Joe will be sorely missed by all whose lives he has touched.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay in touch!
31st President, BFHA
BFHA EXECUTIVE BOARD 2020-2021
Thank you to the BFHA members who shared their voices in our recent election by mailing in their ballots. We received responses from approximately one third of the ballots that were mailed and the new slate of board members was overwhelmingly approved.
Congratulations to our new officers!
President Liz Nacinovich
Vice President Janet McCreesh
Vice President Elisa Bellere
Treasurer Karen Barbieri
Recording Secretary Martha Pirone
Corresponding Secretary Dennis Occhino
Immediate Past President Kevin Morris
Member Kurt Nickel
Member Dianne Arfsten
109 PRECINCT UPDATE:
Commanding Officer John L. O’Connell – Deputy Inspector Keith Shine
The 109th Precinct recently announced that they have a new Commanding Officer, Captain John L. O’Connell, from the 9th Pct. We welcome CO O’Connell and look forward to working with him. We would also like to bid a fond farewell to DI Keith Shine, who has become the CO of one of the NYPD’s transit divisions and thank him for his service to our community
Currently, the BFHA has accounts totaling $94,192.00 The current year’s paid membership is 278 members who contributed $7,050.00 in dues and an additional $8,715.00 to the legal fund.
If you have not yet sent in your dues, now would be a great time to do so. You can do this by clicking below, or go to www.broadwayflushing.org/membership-application. We accept Paypal. Remember, there is strength in numbers!
Synposis of BFHA General Membership Meeting, October 17, 2019:
- It was one year ago that we held our last in person meeting at Church on the Hill. (So much has happened since then!) Below is a quick synopsis of the minutes from the meeting.
- Councilman Paul Vallone stopped by to update us on the Bowne Park Restoration project and participatory budgeting. He explained that he had secured additional funds for local schools.
- NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner, Melanie La Rocca, explained the enormous scope of work that her department oversees and urged anyone with concerns about illegal conversions, unsafe business practices and unlicensed work to reach out the DOB via our community liason, Anthony Iuliano.
- Both Commissioner La Rocca and Paul Vallone agreed that something more should be done to alert buyers about deed restrictions on their properties.
- Deputy Inspector Keith Shine spoke on behalf of the 109th PCT of the NYPD. He introduced our NCO’s Dean and CO Petronzio and encouraged members to contact them with quality of life issues either by email or phone.
- DI Shine encouraged community members to secure their homes and cars to prevent burglary and to report any suspicious activity via 911. He explained that Officer Burger is available to give homeowners a free home burglary inspection.
Interview with Senator John Liu
On Friday, October 9, 2020, Kevin Morris and I met via Zoom with NYS Senator John Liu. We discussed a wide range of topics concerning our community. Of course, one of the main topics was the effect of the pandemic on our quality of life in northeastern Queens. Senator Liu explained that right now, government services are on par with the pre-CoVid standards. However, this level of service is subject to change, as we are heading toward a financial reckoning. He explained that things will undoubtedly get worse without federal support of the public sector.
One of the main concerns of our members was the proposed MTA project for rerouting buses. Senator Liu explained that the project is indefinitely on hold due to the pandemic which has had a devastating effect on the city’s transportation system. He pointed out that without help from Washington many city agencies will be adversely affected including firefighters, teachers, and policemen due to inevitable municipal budget cuts. Liu explained that “It is really incumbent upon Washington to recognize that this is a natural disaster and come forth economically.”
When questioned if he thought that the increased amount of debris (disposed PPE on our streets and in our parks) was a result of budget cuts, Liu explained that this was more likely due to a personnel shortage from the pandemic than to slashes in funding at this time. Senator Liu encourages everyone to continue to take precautions such as practicing good hygiene, keeping socially distant, and wearing a mask. If anyone is unable to procure the necessary PPE, his office may assist. You can alert BFHA via email and we can arrange for the PPE to be disbursed.
Another issue of concern is the ongoing construction project QED-991 along 33rd Ave. Senator Liu explained the upgrade was very necessary due to the age and disrepair of the infrastructure. He related that the anticipated completion date for the project is summer 2021. Right now CAC is installing combined sewers on 33rd Ave to Utopia Pkwy. The next phase will be the installation of catch basins on 33rd Ave. and 156 St. heading towards Utopia Pkwy. Con Edison will come back to relocate the gas services. Once that is completed CAC will be installing the 72’ trunk water main along the same route. After that installation, the roadway restoration will start. He explained that, as of right now, CAC is unable to give an exact timeline for when the work will take place, but he assured us that the officials overseeing the project will give notice prior to the commencement. Finally, once the construction is fully completed CAC will remove the yellow wrapping from the overhead wires and the tree guards.
As for the homeowners who feel that their properties have been negatively impacted by the construction, the senator explained that, unfortunately, CAC will not be responsible for repairing any sprinkler systems that are on city property. However, they will repair any systems that are on the homeowner’s property. Senator Liu explained that the key is to document everything. Ideally, homeowners should take pictures and video before construction begins and after the damage occurs, taking care to date and time stamp everything. He further added that you should be as detailed as possible in your correspondence as to dates and times of occurrence. The first step is to call 311 and file a complaint within 30 days of the occurrence. Once the homeowner has a complaint number, he should then visit the NYC Comptroller’s website to file a notice. Liu cautioned that there are time restraints, so homeowners should do this in a timely manner. When the initial notice is filed, homeowners may follow up with more specific inquiries about their claims. When asked about the burgeoning rat problem, Senator Liu explained that the CAC has an exterminator that routinely visits the site but that he has been assured by the project manager that they will inspect the site soon.
The conversation then turned to changes in the neighborhood. A concerned neighbor asked if there is a limit on taxable properties coming off the tax rolls. Senator Liu explained that there is not a limit in NYC, and that it has been proven that the loss of tax revenue is less than the growth rate of taxable property value. He explained that large non-profits such as universities and hospitals are the biggest issue since tax rates are computed citywide. Liu cited the example of the new Cornell Tech University opening on Roosevelt Island which will take large amounts of taxable properties off the rolls. The upside, however, is the fact that these institutions create jobs and other opportunities within the community.
We also discussed the problem with illegal conversions of one family homes to multi-family dwellings. Liu stressed that each instance should be reported to 311. Once a complaint number is procured the appropriate official should be notified (Councilman Paul Vallone, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, or Senator John Liu) as well as the BFHA.
Inevitably the conversation turned toward a discussion of the Rickert-Finlay Covenant and the BFHA’s duty to uphold it. Senator Liu agreed with our position that it is important to defend the covenant. The BFHA board has noted in the past that a clear covenant notation on a deed would be ideal. Senator Liu requested that we furnish the details of past attempts at deed enhancement to see if legislation may be drafted to rectify this omission.
Noise complaints have been brought to our attention over the past few months. One of the main offenders, as always, is the airline traffic out of LaGuardia Airport, which is beginning to ramp up again. We thanked Senator Liu and his staff for their diligent work on behalf of the community with the FAA Roundtable discussions. He explained that they are due to meet next week and would give us an update after that meeting. Another complaint concerned the ongoing construction noise. Senator Liu explained that if construction noise occurs prior to 7 AM or late into the night, complaints should be filed via 311 and his office should be notified. As for the increased noise from “souped up” cars in the neighborhood, it was agreed that you should try to get the license number and file a report with 311 or the 109th.
Senator Liu gave us an update on the specialized high school entrance exams. He said that the dates were published as usual and that he was keeping an eye on this for any changes from the DOE.
**IMPORTANT VOTING INFO **
Please note that if you normally vote at St. Andrew Avellino School, you WILL NOT be voting there on November 3, 2020. The voters who normally vote at St. Andrew Avellino will be split between the following two locations
Voters residing in Election Districts 9/40, 11/40, and 12/40 will be assigned to:
Hansung Presbyterian Church, located at 35-56 159 Street (two doors off Northern Blvd)
Voters residing in Election Districts 8/40 and 20/40 will be assigned to:
PS 22, located at 153-33 Sanford Avenue
All registered voters whose polling place was St. Andrew Avellino School will be sent a notice in the mail this week, so check your mailbox. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Board of Elections at (718) 730-6730 or log onto their website at www.vote.nyc
In June of 2020 it was brought to our attention that a new construction on 156th and 33rdAvenue had a setback of 17 feet. As this property is covered by the Rickert-Finlay Covenant, we alerted the architect on the job. The architect conferred with the homeowner, who agreed to re-file a new set of plans with the Department of Buildings and set the house back 20 feet, in compliance with the covenant. While our mission is to enforce the deed restrictions, we want to recognize the burden we placed on the homeowner to change the home and most importantly we want to thank them for doing so, in such a speedy and professional manner.
The two corner properties at 157-04 and 157-20 35th Ave. were purchased in August 2019 by Calvary World Mission Church. The two properties were granted a demolition permit by the Department of Buildings. The church has applied to the DOB for a permit to build a house of worship. The application is currently under review by the DOB. We have looked at the preliminary application and see no violations of the covenant or the zoning. It is still very early in the process, but we will continue to monitor this site and keep you updated of any issues, if any arise.
STAY TUNED: We are awaiting notification from the Bowne Park Civic Association as to whether this year’s Bowne Park Holiday Tree/Menorah lighting will be allowed to proceed as usual. Be sure to check your inbox for an update in the near future!
IMPORTANT COVID INFO
Check out COVID-19 Connect
COVID Connect is your one-stop shop for asking questions, submitting requests, or voicing concerns to the NYC Health Department’s COVID-19 response team. Visit COVID-19 Connect and make sure to share with your networks.
NYC’s COVID-19 Citywide Information Portal
NYC’s COVID-19 Citywide Information Portal (nyc.gov/coronavirus)
provides the latest updates on information related to COVID-19.
Neighborhood Resources by Zip Code
The NYC Health Department’s resource snapshots provide information on select resources currently available by zip code. Learn more at nyc.gov/health/covidresources
Text “COVID” (“COVIDESP” en español) to 692-692 for regular COVID-19 updates from Notify NYC.
Order a plaque for your home or as a gift for your neighbor. If you would like to order a plaque, please visit our website and select “Order a Plaque” This will take you directly to the manufacturer who has given a 10% discount for all Broadway-Flushing Plaques. If you need help installing your plaque reach out to us because we know who the “handy” neighbors are and they would love to help you!