Sunday, December 21, 2014

No words

Bus company needs to clean up its act

From the Queens Chronicle:

Ozone Park resident Eduardo Venegas has been waking up at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of idling school buses for the past two years, and he’s sick of it.

Venegas’ house neighbors Logan Bus Co.’s Ozone Park depot, located at 97-14 Atlantic Ave.

He said the school buses depart via 95th Avenue, a quiet residential street, in the early morning hours and idle their engines in front of people’s houses.

The buses often double-park on the narrow road, he added, causing people stuck behind them to honk.

When they’re parked curbside, he claims the drivers are behind the wheel either sleeping or eating before they begin their routes.

Venegas said in addition to waking up residents along 95th Avenue, the drivers are throwing their garbage in front of their houses and on the streets.

Venegas said he has brought his complaints regarding the depot to Community Board 9, but has not reached out to any elected officials about the situation yet.

He brought his complaint to the board at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Corey Muirhead, a representative for the owners of Logan Bus Co., said the company is aware of the situation and is working to correct it.

Can illegal conversions be busted with circumstantial evidence?

From PIX11:

Bob Cassara has lived in Bay Ridge his whole life.

After a neighboring home came under new ownership and went through a massive renovation recently, Cassara decided to take a look at the plans from the Department of Buildings.

“What had before maybe three or four bedrooms, now has 11 or 12 bedrooms,” said Cassara.

Naturally, the plans raised some questions, so Bob brought it to the attention of the local community board.

“They said the houses are being converted illegally.”

In fact, the city receives more than 20-thousand complaints about illegal conversions each year.

And the reality is they put a burden on tax payers by raising home values, put first responders at risk because of inaccurate plans, and cause over-crowding at local schools.

“This is a lose, lose all around and it’s growing throughout the whole city,” said City Councilman Vincent Gentile.

The problem is, even if the Department of Buildings believes a home has been illegally converted, they can’t go inside to check without permission from the owners. Which is why Councilman Gentile has proposed new legislation that would strengthen the laws for the city.

“We send people to jail circumstantial evidence,” said Gentile. “So there’s no reason why we can’t have circumstantial evidence help us to try to stem the tide of the illegal conversions happening in our city.”

So what can you look out for?

Gentile says extra doorbells or electric and water meters might be the mark of an illegal conversion. There may also be multiple entrances like there are at this home Gentile’s office says is on a list of suspected illegal conversions.

Rockaway reps make more sense than the rest

Eric gets points for mentioning Sandy and his constituents' resiliency.

"Community and unity." That's a good one to end this series with.

CB5 reverses course on summer party palace

Back in September, I posted the item about CB5 rejecting the liquor license for the hipster party venue in Ridgewood. But now they changed their minds.

Let the 311 complaints begin.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rory & Mark make some sense

Mark Weprin gets points for mentioning parks and schools as main reasons to live in his district instead of food, but he should be made aware that the Queens Farm Museum stopped making wine some time ago.

Meanwhile, Rory pulls off a flawless performance.

Community board term limit bill doesn't do much

From Gotham Gazette:

The New York City Council will once again see a bill on term limits introduced, although this one is not likely to be as controversial as the last time.

On Wednesday Council Members Danny Dromm and Ben Kallos will introduce legislation to impose a six-term limit for members of Community Boards, capping tenure at 12 years. Currently, community board members can serve as many two-year terms as they wish, so long as they continue to be approved by their respective borough president.

"Communities change and I believe Community Boards should change also," Council Member Dromm said by phone Tuesday evening. "I applaud those people who spend 30 or 40 years on a Community Board, and I thank them for service. But I do think we need to move things around."

The bill would not affect members currently on the boards, only those elected to a first term on April 1, 2016 or after.

So the same evil people and dead weight currently appointed will continue to serve indefinitely. Fantastic job, gentlemen!

Is this the final nail in Flushing's historical coffin?

From the Queens Courier:

Great Wall Supermarket, on Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street, will be replaced next year by a glass-clad, 11-story building after the supermarket’s owners decided to not renew the lease, according to city records. The proposed building’s modern, sleek look will tower next to the Civil War-era Flushing Town Hall, causing many in the community to criticize the new building for not conforming to the appearance of its historic neighbor.

“This thing looks like it’s something out of Miami Vice,” Flushing resident Vincent Amato said. “You can kiss goodbye any sense of history this neighborhood still had.”

Despite community resistance, Community Board 7 passed a request to change the area’s zoning, allowing the building’s developer, George Chu, to move another step closer toward his goal of developing a mixed-use building with a hotel, store fronts, community space and apartment units.

Flushing Town Hall wrote a letter expressing their support of the new development, and the planned community space will be used often by Town Hall events. During the community board meeting, the board members defended their decision to allow the building to be constructed.

“We’re not granting something that’s significantly different then what could be there,” Chuck Apelian said. “None of us are negligent of the history.”

As the meeting ended, Apelian said, “This is a tragedy not just for Flushing, but the whole nation. Hundreds of years of American history will be overshadowed by this new building.”

So, Chuck is opposed to the building, but voted for its zoning change anyway? WTF?

T Building back on track as housing

From the Queens Courier:

A proposal to turn the historic T Building on Queens Hospital Center’s grounds into 206 units of affordable housing has resumed after several years of missteps and controversy, according to local leaders and a politician.

As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative, the city has restarted the process of turning the former tuberculosis center in Hillcrest into a residential building.

But plans to do something with the medical building go back to at least 2012 when the Queens Hospital Center worked with a nonprofit human services agency to develop the dilapidated 10-story building on its campus into 251 units of affordable housing. Community leaders and politicians like state Senator Tony Avella killed that plan, along with others.

“The new proposal is much better than the original proposal,” said Avella, who has been working closely with the community and city officials to develop plans. “Are there still things that have to be worked out? Of course. We want some more details. And we will continue to crystalize the plans.”

The city’s plans for the building are still in the early phases, and the city hasn’t publicly released any details. But, according to Avella, the new proposal addresses all of the issues raised by the community – from preserving the historic building to making sure that the community is comfortable with who the new residents will be.

This will hopefully make Jamaica Bay cleaner

From the Queens Courier:

Hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage that now overflow into ecologically fragile Jamaica Bay every year will be diverted to treatment plants under a new project being launched by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

A new $40 million initiative split into two smaller projects is set to begin in 2015 in South Ozone Park by the Belt Parkway to reduce sewer overflows into both Bergen and Thurston Basin, two bodies of water that ultimately lead into Jamaica Bay.

City officials said they are taking pains to minimize the impact on traffic along the Belt Parkway from construction of one of the new sewage overflow pipelines that will cross under the highway.

The project is designed to ensure that about 300 million gallons a year of combined sewer overflow will be routed to the Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it will be treated to Federal Clean Water Act standards, rather than being discharged untreated into the tributaries of Jamaica Bay.

As of now, there are two 36-inch sewer lines carrying sewer overflow from North Conduit Avenue under the Belt Parkway to 150th Street and 126th Avenue. When they reach that point, they connect to a 72-inch sewer line, ultimately bringing all that overflow to the Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The DEP said that due to increased development of southern Queens, the existing pipes “no longer have sufficient capacity to carry combined flow generated north of the Belt Parkway and act as a bottleneck in the area’s drainage system.”

Once again, why was development allowed without improved infrastructure in place first?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Liquor license expedited for Council party

From the NY Post:

They pulled the strings so the bartenders could pull the taps.

The City Council booked its holiday party at a swanky new bar that still needed a liquor license — so they just called in a favor for a rush permit to get the beer flowing, sources told The Post.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito agreed to have Wednesday night’s party at Barleycorn Craft Bar & Grill, which is owned by the pal of top staffer Steve Feder.

But after the invitations had already gone out, the council learned that the Park Place watering hole was still awaiting a license from the State Liquor Authority, the sources said.

That’s when they turned to First Deputy Chief of Staff Ramon Martinez, who is known as “the fixer” for his ability to solve problems. Feder asked Martinez at a senior leadership meeting to pressure the SLA — and state officials gave the bar its license just hours before the party started.

An SLA spokesman denied doing any favors for the council and said it simply issued a permit that was applied for in April.

Live from Jamaica: The next hot neighborhood!

From Cleanup Jamaica Queens:

It is so funny when I read the other day, that Jamaica is going to be one of five new "hot" areas come 2015. Funny, because the below quality of life issues that plague this community continue over and over again and Jamaica certainly does not look like the next "hot" neighborhood, especially with the large majority of slobs, bottom of the barrel folks, slumlords, a poor excuse of elected officials and a lack of enforcement on many issues.

Plus, no matter what city agency you talk to the same thing "not enough man-power". This excuse has gotten so fucking old and if NYC was a business, it would have been shut down decades ago. How about enough with the fucking excuses and just enforce the fucking laws on the books. How can you keep cramming more and more people into this city if you 1) do not have the infrastructure to handle it and 2) you say you don't have the 'man power".

Latest Jamaica shit sights:

Miller & Wills: there's a big difference

Overall, a good video, but Addisleigh Park should have been mentioned, since that's what he talks about in the beginning.

A woolly mammoth in Baisley Pond Park?

Libraries will be open longer

From the Daily News:

Queens Library branches will stay open later after the busy system, which serves more than 11 million customers a year, rejiggers its hours next year.

Branches will either open earlier at 10 a.m. or remain open later until 8 p.m. for at least two days a week, starting Jan. 5, 2015.

The library is pushing for a funding increase to keep all the branches open six days a week, officials said.

Trying to make Corona cool

From DNA Info:

The seller of newly built luxury condos on Northern Boulevard is calling the section of Corona "NoCo" to infuse it with some "cool" — but the moniker has confused residents who say they've never heard of the nickname.

The area has become home to a handful of buildings in the past year with pricey apartments and high-end amenities on Northern Boulevard west of 106th Street.

Adrian Lupu, who is selling units at Sage House Condos on 112th and Northern Boulevard, said he came up with the name "NoCo" once construction began last year.

"I started about a year and a half ago to call it that. We sort of picked up on the SoHo trend," he said. "We're trying to bring the cool to the neighborhood."