CB 13, Friedrich spar over co-op tax cap plan

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown talks about the successes of his office during a meeting of Community Board 13. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
By Howard Koplowitz

Community Board 13 drew the anger of Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich after it was scheduled to vote on a resolution which was ultimately tabled in support of City Councilman Mark Weprin’s (D-Oakland Gardens) position that the city’s idea to cap property tax valuations at 50 percent for co-ops and condos was unfair.

Friedrich, who ran against Weprin for Council, said he was “very disappointed” in the board because he believed he and other co-op presidents in Queens were not given due credit for raising the property tax valuation issue in the resolution.

“We’re still supporting Weprin’s position, we’re not supporting your position,” CB 13 Chairman Bryan Block told Friedrich.

But Friedrich said he and other co-op presidents “with all due respect, have been more engaged in this battle than any elected official.”

Weprin said in a phone interview Tuesday he has no problem with Friedrich and other co-op presidents being acknowledged.

“For me, it’s not about who gets the credit. We’ve all been working hard on this issue,” he said. “It’s not about who gets the credit.”

CB 13 Land Use Committee Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht was about to announce the resolution, but said he “didn’t feel comfortable to explain what the situation is for taxes.”

Hellenbrecht said in a phone interview Tuesday that he was going to have another CB 13 member introduce the resolution, but the member was absent from Monday’s meeting and the wording was not not available.

Friedrich did not attend the Land Use Committee meeting last week because he was busy holding a meeting with other co-op owners in Whitestone with the city Finance Department commissioner.

Weprin, Friedrich and other co-op presidents voiced outrage after property tax valuations rose for some co-ops by as much as 125 percent when they were given notice last month.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown also visited the board Monday to update them on his office, which includes 300 assistant district attorneys, an NYPD squad, a seven-member state police unit and a 24-hour hotline.

Brown said he begins his mornings at 5 a.m. and calls the hotline to find out what happened over the course of the night.

“If there’s, God forbid, a home invasion in the 105[th Precinct], we know about it immediately,” Brown said.

The DA said his office processed 78,000 arrest cases last year.

“I’d like to think we handled them professionally and expeditiously,” he said, noting his office also has the best arrest to arraignment time in the city.

“We’re very busy and our numbers are, quite frankly, something I’m particularly proud of,” Brown said.

Brown also pointed to the sharp decreases in violent crime since he took office in 1991.

He said there were 361 murders in the borough 20 years ago, which dropped to under 100 last year.

In 1991, 250,000 cars were stolen in Queens compared to 3,000 last year, Brown said.

“Some of our numbers are just remarkable,” he said, which includes an 85 percent reduction in violent crime.

The board also unanimously voted against granting a variance to a BP station at 246th Street and 136th Avenue in Rosedale.

Hellenbrecht said the Land Use Committee had concerns that the property owner had not been painting over graffiti at the station and that cars waiting to be serviced were being parked on public streets.

Hellenbrecht said the committee gave the owner three months to work out the problems and Rosedale Civic Association President Bill Perkins told him the property had been painted but the owner did an unsatisfactory job.

“The rest of the problems do not seem to be addressed very well,” Hellenbrecht said. “It still poses eyesores and there’s still a problem with litter.”

CB 13 voted against the variance 26-0.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

More from Around New York