Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Association

Minutes of the September 19, 2016

Officers Present
President - Walter Mugdan
Vice President - Victor Dadras
Treasurer - Gary Savage
Secretary - Charles Manna

Board Members Present
Bob Timmerman
John Duane
Phil Toscano

Officials Present
Ahmed Nazaar from NYC Councilman Peter Vallone's office

President Walter Mugdan called the meeting to order at 8:00 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 $21,262.48 as of September 19, 2016. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer's report. The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

Old Business

41 Drive and Glenwood Street - The house was demolished and the debris was removed. Victor Dadras reported that he gave the Westmoreland Covenants to the architect. The architect, in turn, gave a copy of the house plans to Victor. They appear to be in compliance with both the NYC zoning regulations (R2A) and the covenants. We will keep watch on the property to be sure that the building in fact does comply.

39 Road and Little Neck Parkway - At the last meeting, it was revealed that the owners had completed a fence that was in violation of our covenants. A letter was sent to the owners explaining the violation. Walter Mugdan followed up with a personal visit. The owners were very nice about the issue and promised to take care of it. Walter is happy to report that the two sections of fence that were in violation were removed on September 15-16; the larger section (adjacent to Little Neck Parkway) has been replaced by a hedge; the section along the east side of the driveway was shortened.

Bicycle access to the Joe Micheal's mile -- Unfortunately, a Bayside resident was killed while cycling near the intersection of Northern Boulevard and the Cross Island Parkway. He was riding eastbound on Northern and attempting to cross to the entrance of the bike path on the Joe Michaels Mile. He was struck by a car as he attempted to make the crossing of the Cross Island entry ramp. There is a traffic light to cross the Boulevard but no signage or signal to cross the ramp. After much discussion, it was proposed that we pass a motion to write to the Department of Transportation Commissioner and to ask to meet with us and with other concerned individuals and groups to discuss the situation on and around that area. A representative of a group called Transportation Alternatives, who is also member of our organization, expressed much interest in participating in that meeting.

The discussion then extended to concerns about traffic safety within the Westmoreland community. Motorists use our local streets to bypass congestion on Northern Boulevard. A motion was made to invite the Commissioner to attend the November, 2016 Westmoreland Association meeting and to discuss:

1.     Excessive high speed traffic in our neighborhood, and along Northern Boulevard between Bayside and Douglaston (where the bicycle fatality occurred)
2.     Better traffic control at the off-ramp of the Cross Island Parkway (going East).

It was pointed out that we have had discussions and written communications with the DOT about these and related issues in the past several years.

Participatory Budget - Ahmad Nazaar reporting:
The next round of Participatory Budgeting will start soon. Ahmad encouraged us to join in and help decide which capital projects should be included in the list of candidates for selection by the residents of District 19 next Spring. Typically, the projects that get the top five votes will be eligible to share one million dollars in funding for the following year. Last year, Councilman Vallone was able to add in more money from his discretionary funds to add additional projects. One of those was funding for capital improvements at our Library in Little Neck. The Councilmember will hold four Neighborhood Assemblies in coming weeks to explain and kick off the process. The nearest to us will be on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Little Neck Community Church. [Information about that meeting was subsequently sent to our Association's email list, and posted on our Facebook page.]

New Business -

A question and answer session was opened to the general membership.

Q.     What can be done to improve the appearance of Triangle Park (Glenwood and 39th Road)? What can be done to discourage the use of the park by outsiders who are drinking and taking drug at night there?
A.     A couple of years ago the NYC Parks department offered to put in new plantings, but it didn't happen. They said they need local residents to commit to taking care of the new plantings for the first year (a commitment we had made at the time, and are prepared to make again). The Douglaston-Little Neck Historical Society would also like to plant flowers or do other improvements there. Some members commented that better lighting would reduce the use of the park for drug activity at night.

Q.     How can we stop the excessive use of leaf blowers in the neighborhood?
A.     The Douglas Manor Association communicated with its members asking them to voluntarily stop using leaf blowers from May through October. One member noted that leaf blowers really are not necessary for use for grass removal. It is just as easy for the workers to use rakes. It was reported that most residents seem to be complying with the request. (No one enjoys their Saturday mornings to be interrupted by the smelly, noisy devices.) Walter Mugdan will contact the DMA and ask for a copy of the written communication they sent their members. [This has subsequently been done; we will discuss the idea at a future meeting.]

Q.     Is the day care business being conducted in two buildings within the Westmoreland development (one located on Little Neck Parkway near 39th Road and the other on 39th Road near Westmoreland Street) in compliance with our covenants and City regulations?
A.     Yes. Our Rickert-Finlay covenants provided for two "Business Sections" in our development. One is along Northern Blvd. and the other is the block bounded by 39th Road, Westmoreland Street, 40th Avenue, and Little Neck Parkway (opposite the LIRR station). The covenants allow operation of businesses in these two areas, though not elsewhere in the development. The block along 39th Road, near the LIRR, is not zoned commercial under the NYC zoning rules. However, a day care center is a permitted use in an area that is not otherwise zoned commercial.

Q.     Bat Houses - a resident encouraged members to use bat houses in or near our community to encourage the type of bat that feeds on mosquitoes to take up residence here. Bats eat a large number of insects daily, and are not dangerous to people or pets.
A.     We agree. They can be purchased for under thirty dollars at, for example, Hicks Nursery. One nearby resident installed a bat house this Spring and bats took residence immediately. They can be installed on the upper side of a house or on the side of a tree. They should be at least 15 feet from the ground.

Udalls Cove - Motion was made and unanimously passed to write to the Belgrade Sewage Commission to include the removal of the concrete block house in the southern end of Udalls Cove as part of their planned project to replace the sewage treatment plant discharge pipeline. The unsightly structure no longer serves any purpose. The structure was built in 1934 as part of the discharge pipeline; the blockhouse is where the pipeline makes two 90� bends to shift from above-ground to underwater; it extends from there about a half mile out into the bay which is where the discharge point is. The entire pipeline is being replaced by a pipeline that will be underground all the way from the treatment plant to the discharge point; the blockhouse will no longer serve any purpose. In the past several years, it has been used by the resident ospreys as a base or platform for their nest. However, they suffered a catastrophic loss on April 24, 2016 when their nest was burned by three teenage vandals. The teens had easy access to the structure from the shore during low tide. Removal of the structure would encourage the raptors to return to the osprey nesting platform nearby to once again raise their chicks there.

Electronic Recycling - The next recycling day is scheduled for October 8, 2016 from 10 AM to 4 PM. It will be held at the parking lot in St. Anastasia Church in Little Neck

The schedule for the forthcomings meetings is: November 21, 2016; March 20, 2017; and May 15, 2017.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Charles Manna, Secretary

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