The Association will be meeting Tuesday August 27th 2013 at 7:30pm at 190 Fordham St.
Republican candidates Joseph Lhota and John Catsmatidis have advised that they will be attending. Democratic candidates Bill Thompson and Bill de Blassio were invited to attend but have advised they will likely be unable to make it. Letters were sent to all announced candidates as of 4/30/2013. So far this year, Islanders have heard from Christine Quinn, Anthony Weiner, John Liu, and Adolfo Carrion.
We were advised today that the New York City’s Department of Transportation has issued Tutor and Perini Construction Company a notice to proceed on building the New City Island Bridge. We have advised continuously, at every occasion,that the bridge design is out of character and unacceptable to the community. We never approved this design, and a public meeting was never held on City Island. DOT makes no note of repeated letters of opposition in their application to the State. However, DOT did advise they would pursue a Universal Land Use Review Process (ULURP) in order to build the bridge, this would require a public meeting, yet one has never occurred. We will pursue any and all avenues, including legal, to delay this project until a new and more receptive mayoral administration takes office in January.
There is no update on the next hearing of the Board of Standards and Appeals for the Italian Hospital Society’s plans to build at 222 City Island Avenue (at the intersection with Schofield Street). We continue to monitor this project and will have a fundraiser in the fall to raise needed monies for our legal defense.
Last month, the Civic wrote a letter to Borough President Ruben Diaz requesting his assistance in dealing with the ongoing issues with motorcycles and dirt bikes. Last weekend, a large scale operation took place where police confiscated several bikes. We will continue to monitor this situation; residents are encouraged to call 911 if they see anything illegal including racing and vehicles riding on sidewalks.
The standing committees will give a report to membership including Crime, Quality of Life, Development and Traffic.
Please bring any concerns you may have before the Association next meeting so we can work together to correct any issues and continue to improve our neighborhood.
City Island Civic Association – Minutes of Meeting held July 30, 2013
The meeting was brought to order at 7:35. The reading of the June minutes was waived and the minutes accepted as distributed. The treasurer reported that there was $12,022.23 in the Civic account.
Barbara Dolensek reported that the Board of Standards and Appeals advised the Italian Hospital Society to revise their plans for an assisted living housing project and come up with a financial analysis to justify the large number of units before the BSA can approve any variances to allow residential zoning in a manufacturing zone. The applicant has asked for a postponement of their deadline for the new submission and will now have until September 2. It is unlikely that a hearing will be held again until October. Our attorney advises us to think about what we would like or could accept at this site. There is still concern that if the IHS gets the variance and then cannot find funds to build the residence, another developer would buy the lot and build something quite different. We need to think long term and keep on fighting. A disturbing documentary was shown on television this week describing the problems withassisted living facilities, which are not well regulated or inspected.
City Island’s protests about the new bridge have received publicity lately, and we need to continue to make it clear that we never voted on this project and that our opinions have been ignored. John Liu, as comptroller, is trying to avoid authorizing the contract with Tutor-Perini, but that may not be possible.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, candidate for mayor on the Democratic ticket, arrived and spoke to the membership. She thanked the Civic for reaching out to her office on the assisted living project and was glad that the BSA in this round has listened to the community. She advised us to stay in touch with Jimmy Vacca on this issue. She pointed out that with her colleagues in the Council, budgets have been balanced but that teachers have kept their jobs and the firehouses have remained intact. She promised that when she becomes mayor, we will no longer have to fight for basic safety issues. She understands that the proposed bridge is a problem for us and in response to the question as to whether the bridge project could be stalled, she agreed to look into this. She then fielded other questions, such a policing (we need more officers), drug sales on the island, and the need for youth programs and other outreach efforts. She agreed that City Island and Orchard Beach definitely need a summer detail. She agreed that the 45th precinct does a great job but with limited resources.
There are several large projects coming up in the Bronx:Macy’s, a new golf course, a hotel, but neighborhoods like City Island have many smaller businesses that need assistance. She wants to change the restaurant grading system so that it is not just about fines and give property tax breaks to landlords who rent to small businesses. The issue of traffic congestion in the Bronx needs to have a better voice; asthma rates are very high here. Four new Metro North stops are being opened, and the city is looking into ferry service to this area. We need to get more trucks off the streets and change to non- polluting trucks. To help the middle class, she supports green trucks and more training for jobs, more affordable housing and child care.
Bob Kapstatter from the Bronx Times spoke briefly to the audience and offered discount subscriptions to all Civic Association members.
Anthony Weiner, candidate for mayor on the Democratic ticket,arrived with a barrage of reporters. He thanked the Civic for inviting him and recognized that City Island does not ask for a lot of extra services but does insist on basics such as a ladder company. NYC is not going to survive without a middle class and jobs with benefits and insurance. He then fielded questions from the floor, the first one being about his recent behavior in which he lied to the public, resigned, and then did it again. He told the Civic that he had violated the trust of my wife but that he was not going to quit; “If you don’t want me, then do not vote for me.” He said he had some good Ideas that he would implement as mayor. He responded to a question about the new FEMA regulations regarding flood levels and the fact that flood insurance may become unaffordable for communities like City Island by explaining that he national flood insurance program needs to be changed so that people at risk aren’t the only ones paying into the program. As to the bridge, he pointed out that when Rudy Giuliani was mayor, he would bring all the commissioners to town meetings instead of ignoring the wishes of communities, and he would like to bring that back. There needs to be more transparency in the current system for funding projects. Every City Council request should be posted on the city’s website. He does not support the current stop-and-frisk program where minorities are targeted. We need more community police officers who know what is going on in neighborhoods rather than just stopping everyone without sufficient cause. He said he would help small businesses and the middle class by helping to pay for health insurance for employees and giving tax cuts to those earning less than $150,000 a year so people would have more money to spend.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.