At a public hearing organized by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and state officials, members of the public testified about the need for cease-and-desist zones — a designation that allows residents of certain areas to sign up for a list with the state that makes it unlawful for real estate brokers to solicit them.
“The people in the community are complaining about people that knock on their door at 7:30 on a Sunday morning asking if their houses are for sale and the tremendous solicitation,” Fresh Meadows Homeowners Association President Jim Gallagher said in his testimony.
Between 1989 and 2009, the entire borough was a cease-and-desist zone. Under current state law, neighborhoods can be declared cease-and-desist zones if they are considered eligible. Excessive solicitation must be demonstrated to the state by residents of an area who desire the designation. In addition to door knocking, the appeals come in the form of phone calls and mail.
At the end of his testimony, Avella presented a bag with dozens of pieces of solicitation mail “for dramatic effect.”
The hearing, which happened in the auditorium of Bayside High School last Thursday, was before officials from the New York State Department of State, the agency that determines whether the zones should be adopted.
Twelve people, most of whom self-identified as members of civic associations, spoke in favor of reinstating the designation. But as Avella put it in a press release issued the following day, the 27 real estate brokers who testified against making the borough a cease-and-desist zone “organized to hijack” the hearing.