Friday, April 11, 2014

Boards have different views on illegal conversions

From the Times Ledger:

Community Board 11 voted at its monthly meeting this week to stand against legitimizing any illegally zoned housing units within the board’s district.

In a 41-1 vote, with three absent members and one who abstained, the board approved a resolution stating that it “opposes any proposal to permit additional housing units in violation of existing zoning laws in the city of New York.”

We all know that we do need more affordable housing, but we should make a statement that this is not a good idea for a variety of reasons,” said Henry Euler, the board member who penned the resolution. “There’s zoning issues and safety issues and I just felt that this was not a very good idea.”

CB 11 covers Bayside, Auburndale, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens and Hollis Hills — all neighborhoods which are known to place a high importance on following zoning laws and frequently get involved in hearings that challenge the look and feel of the area.

Janet McEneaney, who represents Bayside on the board, agreed with Euler’s resolution and said illegal housing has started to have a negative impact on the area and needs to be stopped.

“I can’t even find a parking spot anymore because of all the illegal conversions and the homes that have four, five or six families living in a two-family house,” she said. “We need affordable housing units, but they should not be in basements and attics. This is not what we need in Bayside and I do not myself want to see that happen.”

Chris Petallides, the lone vote in opposition to the resolution, said he disagreed with the wording of the document because it was “too absolute” to rule out all illegal units in general. The Little Neck resident, who works as an architect, said some units zoned illegally may not be dangerous and could help provide cheaper housing for people in need.

From the Queens Chronicle:

Community Board 9 gaveled into session under new leadership Tuesday night and engaged in a heated debate over a proposal, favored by Mayor de Blasio, to legalize some basement apartments.

The meeting was the first under new Chairman Ralph Gonzalez, who was elected by the board last month.

The Land Use Committee put before the panel a letter opposing any attempt to legalize basement apartments for a vote. The committee’s co-chairpersons, Sylvia Hack and Sherman Kane, both oppose any plan to legalize such apartments in the city.

Neighborhoods covered by CB 9 have long been notorious for being populated with illegal basement and attic apartments and some longtime board members argued that legalizing those units would only exacerbate them.

“We have to make a statement to everyone that we will not tolerate basement and attic apartments because of the greed of landlords,” said member Maria Thomson, who further noted the dangers such apartments pose to residents and firefighters in the event of a house fire and the strain illegal units put on schools and traffic.

Hack said she opposes basement apartments, though she generally supports de Blasio’s call for more affordable housing.

“People deserve better housing in a dignified way,” she said. “They shouldn’t be just thrown into a basement.”

The board ultimately voted down the letter 22-20 with four abstentions.

Etienne David Adorno, the chairman of the newly created Budget and Finance Committee, noted that in some homes, basements and attics are occupied by family members, especially among larger families, and not rented out. He voted no.

“What if it were your nephew or cousin living there and not paying rent?” he asked.


Anonymous said...

Good! The school districts are already overburdened! Not to mention the trash pickup. We don't need more basement apartments or illegal conversions!

Anonymous said...

22-20 vote in CB 9 shows me it illegal conversions will become "llegal" soon. When it happens people who apply will be paying taxes while the shady home owner will pay no taxes at all. Who's kidding who here ?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Sanctuary City, USA.

Anonymous said...

“People deserve better housing in a dignified way,” she said. “They shouldn’t be just thrown into a basement.”

or housed in a Glendale toxic factory...

Anonymous said...

Re Times-ledger: Christos Pellatides, the lone vote for the measure, is an engineer, not an architect...

Anonymous said...

Why is it surprising that they are trying to make illegal conversions kosher? Aren't they also trying to make illegal aliens legal, and even give them ID's ?

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how to get DOB to get a warrant ?
I live in a 2 family where the basement is being rented to a family of 5. I didn't care until I was blamed for reporting to DOB. I was told by neighbors the low class trash in the basement wants my apartment so they blamed me. DOB has been here multiple time but no one lets them in to the basement, their knocks are ignored. The trashy family is now making it hell to live in this house, now I want them out too. help!!!!