Saturday, August 9, 2014

Illegal basement apartments should remain so

From a letter to the editor [Times Ledger]:

The legalization of basement apartments is high on the agenda of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Civic organizations have spent the last decade working tirelessly to protect residential communities from overdevelopment through the process of rezoning.

After a long, hard struggle, most residential areas have finally been rezoned and, we assumed, are now protected from abusive overdevelopment. Some of the problems associated with overcrowding is the lack of infrastructure required for the existing population.

Adding more people to residential neighborhoods will increase class sizes that are already overcrowded, overloading our inadequate sewer systems — not to speak of parking. These are the most obvious problems, but safety must be a major consideration.

Basement apartments have always been illegal for good reasons. Many deaths have already occurred as a result of basement occupancy. Windows are usually too high and small to use as a point of egress in an emergency. Basements generally have only one means of escape and, if it cannot be reached, the occupants are doomed in the event of fire or flooding.

These horrible living quarters are usually damp and susceptible to the growth of unhealthy mold and a breeding area for bugs. Basements have been known to be a common place for the initiation of a fire, major gas or water leaks and sewer back-ups — not ideal for human habitation.

The mayor and the City Council should remember that all civic organizations have been fighting the passage of this agenda item for good reason. They should also remember that civic members are also loyal members of the voting population for both the general elections as well as the all-important primaries.

Joe Amoroso
Zoning Chairman
Kissena Park Civic Association


Mike Francesa said...

Illegal apartments for illegal residents.

Anonymous said...

They're already here! All of a sudden there's never any parking on quiet residential blocks all over broke-down Flooshing.

How many cars does each household own?

Anonymous said...

By the time the next Council elections take place in three years, we would have forgotten which council members voted to legalize these apartments, and we will re-elect all of them.

Joe Moretti said...

Ask yourself this question: Just what kind of people live in basement apartments?

The answer should be a reason they should NOT become legal.

And for those who say "they are going to have illegal basement apartments anyway, so just make them legal".

The rebuttal to that: ENFORCEMENT and crack down, done properly by one of the worst agencies, the DOB, which that agency needs a crackdown.

Middle Villager said...

The city stopped enforcing the ban on illegal cellar apartments years ago. Have several on my block, one with 3 violations going back to 2007. Even though the violation as listed as HAZARDOUS and Crowley's office was contacted several times, the illegal apartment still has the same occupants. The Queens DOB office stopped doing their job a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

This is a time where residents and civics need to be the voice of our communities. A time where house and rental prices are high and in demand. We need to focus on the recommendations from residents who live and care about the community not politicians who barely or have never visited the neighborhood. It only makes sense and basement apartments are just another terrible idea by our mayor why must neighborhoods be swamped with people.

Anonymous said...

DOB is useless, point blank. Agency needs re-vamping asap/

Anonymous said...

If they make basement apartments legal, then I am going to dig into my basement another 12 feet, and take out the dirt and make a sub-basement and rent it out too.

Anonymous said...

Check out this North Flushing house that took over 34 complaints for the DOB to do the right thing.
33-53 155th Street

Anonymous said...

Let's start deporting more to make more room in this city. If we just followed federal immigration law, living space would not be such a big issue in NYC!

Anonymous said...

Where are the illegal dwelling children going to attend school -- district 24 is already the most overcrowded and don't forget, we're getting all the shelter children.

Anonymous said...

The Glendale area I live in is so overcrowded because of multiple illegal basement apartments on each block.

Complaints made to DOB are useless because everyone is wise enough not to give them access.

Why does the city encourage reporting for our own safety yet do nothing to aid us ?

Anonymous said...

what other agencies can be contacted about illegal basement apartments ?
If DOB closes a complaint for no access after 2 visits, who else can the community go to for assistance ?