The last meeting for this year of The City Island Civic Association will take place tomorrow at The Fordham St. Community Center.
On Friday November 8th, a judge granted a motion for a temporary restraining order against the new bridge being constructed. Oral arguments will now take place on December 4th with an anticipated decision by mid to late December. Their ability to bring a suit against the City was due to the efforts of Senator Jeff Klein with the assistance of State Assemblyman Mike Benedetto, Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. They are hopeful that as a new administration enters City Hall in January, a compromise can be reached on the new bridges design.
The legal case against the Italian Hospital Society's plans to build at 222 City Island Avenue also continues. The next hearing is on February 4th. Residents are encouraged to make a donation to the City Island Civic’s SONE (Save Our Natural Environment) account to cover legal expenses. A fundraiser is in the works for the coming months, if you would like to be a part of the planning committee for this event please email email@example.com.
A reminder, as the season changes keep in mind that it is a requirement of the City of New York that you clean your sidewalks after every snowfall. Failure to do so will lead to fines. Also, advertisements on telephone poles are illegal and fines can be issued.
On November 18th, a large-scale search operation took place after one man lead police on a chase to Belden Point and then took off on foot. The suspect was eventually apprehended on City Island and charged with reckless endangerment and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
They will be voting on several letters of consequence regarding transportation and other quality of life issues. Please make every effort to attend this meeting.
Congratulations to Fred Ramftl for being honored by the City Island Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner Dance!
City Island Civic Association: Minutes of Meeting on October 29, 2013
The meeting was called to order in the library of the City Island Nautical Museum by Bill Stanton, president, at 7:35 p.m. After a moment of silence for victims of Hurricane Sandy, the reading of the minutes and the treasurer’s report were waived; the minutes were accepted as distributed.
Senator Jeff Klein was the guest speaker. He reminded those there of this first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy how fortunate City Island was compared to many other areas in the city. He noted the reopening at Tony’s Pier, which the elected officials had helped to rebuild as quickly as possible after fire destroyed it on the night of the hurricane. He explained that his office was planning to file an injunction to prevent work on the bridge from progressing until the ULURP (a required zoning process) had been completed. Barbara Dolensek is representing the Civic Association as plaintiff in the case against DOT. The URLUP process would require a public hearing and community support, and they want to make sure that the community is heard loud and clear. Senator Klein has worked with Pilot Cove to obtain a new van, the first one n 20 years.
Senator Klein then went on to describe two legislative programs that he is working on: cell phone theft and underage drinking. In Riverdale a man was murdered recently for his iPhone, because these phones have a relatively high resale value. He is therefore working on a bill that would regulate the re-use of cell phones. There are no records now kept on cell phone ownership, so the idea is to introduce cell phone serial number tracking to limit or control the resale of these phones. The Bronx has the highest rate of alcohol sales to minors, and part of the problem is that it is very easy to get fake ID cards. The new law would be designed to obligate all businesses that sell liquor to obtain a scanner in order to determine the validity of ID cards. The stores also need to be authorized to confiscate the fake cards, which they are now not authorized to do. He asked that anyone witnessing the sale of liquor to underage individuals call his office or 311. Relating to the crime issue, Bill Stanton reported that there is apparently an individual now on the island who is dealing heroin and Oxycontin, and that all Islanders should be alert to this.
Regarding the assisted-living project proposed for Schofield Street by Dr. Domenico Mignone of the Italian Hospital Society, Senator Klein explained that he had withdrawn the $1 million he had allocated for the project because this is not the right project or the right place for it. Barbara Dolensek reported that the Board of Standards and Appeals was prepared at the executive session yesterday to deny the application for a variance but that at the public hearing, the applicant’s attorney was able to convince the BSA to allow him to present more information. He was given a January deadline to which we will have two weeks to respond, with a public hearing scheduled for February. There were several suggestions as to possible use of the land, as well as concerns about what could be built on the site if a variance were granted and Dr. Mignone did not have the funds or the license to build as assisted-living facility. It is clear that the property owner stands to profit a great deal if the variance is granted.
In order to continue working with an attorney, it is necessary for the Civic to raise more funds. Please send checks to the City Island Civic Association, P O Box 117, Bronx NY 10464; mark “SONE” in the memo. (SONE stands for “Save Our Natural Environment.”)
The Parks Department project for Belden Point is going through the bidding process, but this is moving very slowly. Senator Klein allocated funds for the park, as he did for a dog run in Pelham Bay Park and security cameras for City Island, but the projects continue to lag as they make their way through the bureaucracy.
Other issues were brought up, such as bulldozing in the wetlands area on west Ditmars Street, concern that there may be a movement to open up Hunter Avenue, and the appearance of empty storefronts that could be made more attractive with artwork. Bill Stanton pointed out that everyone needs to be involved, to report incidents and not rely entirely on the Civic officers and board.
Regarding the bridge, the November issue of Island Current will run a number of DOT answers to community questions about the project and will also report that Paul Nani has made personal contact with Bill di Blasio’s staff to follow up on our concerns now that he has been elected mayor.
Other announcements included the fact that the 45th precinct is getting more officers, that the contents of the Lido (now in foreclosure and recently closed by federal marshals) have been sold off, and that Verizon is finally installing FIOS on City Island.