Board Wants ‘Cash-For-Home’ Fliers Stopped
‘Cash-for-homes’ advertisements around Bushwick have become a nuisance, Brooklyn Community Board 4′s district manager sai during the board’s meeting at the Hope Gardens Senior Center last Wednesday, Sept. 17.
Nadine Whitted called on the community to collect the ubiquitous advertisements and bring them to the board’s office. The board will send them to the Department of Sanitation, and the parties responsible will be be summonsed. Whitted said the fliers, business cards and other notices promising cash for houses have become an eyesore, and are posted nearly everywhere in the neighborhood.
“Let’s wage a war against realtors who leave our community littered with their advertising,” Whitted wrote. “Each day we all face our sidewalks, yards and fences littered by requests to purchase property. This annoyance has to stop. Let’s wage a war by collecting all of these advertisements, then tun them over to the Department of Sanitation for appropriate action.”
A long-time Bushwick resident, Jo-Ena Bennett also expressed her frustration with the fliers and brought with her a summary of the (DOS) rules and regulations which states it is illegal for any person to paste … or affix … printed material … or other similar public item on any street.”
“Who told them I’m selling my house, Whitted said. “You don’t need nobody soliciting to you. Stop aggravating us.”
Crains New York Business wrote in August that “of the five city neighborhoods with the largest increases in median home prices during the past year, three were in Brooklyn, where increased interest from families and investors alike in Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant drove prices up by nearly a third.” Median home prices in Bushwick increased 31.2 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, it was noted in the piece.
Whitted also noted several other community issues that have cropped up over the summer which she has been monitoring in her role as District Manager of Board 4, including a high number of fires in the neighborhood and a popular magazine that deemed Bushwick the seventh coolest neighborhood in the world as well.
There were 11 total fires in the area in July and August, she noted.
“Too many fires. I’m just conscious of an elevated amount of fires,” she said.
With winter approaching some will be using portable heaters, and with the holiday season coming soon she noted an increased risk of fire.
Whitted said she will request FDNY officials come to speak on fire safety and what to do in the event of a fire.
“I am just so suspicious,” she said. “That’s all I can say.”
She referenced the fires that leveled the area in the late 1970’s and said, “we all know what was really happening.”
As for Vogue Magazine writing Bushwick is the seventh coolest neighborhood in the world, Whitted was not impressed with the new fame and spotlight.
“We always knew we were hip and cool. We didn’t need someone to come in from outside and tell us that. We always knew that,” she said.
Comptroller comes by
Scott Stringer addressed the city economy, the importance of community boards and the need to preserve public housing.
“First of all, there’s money in the bank. Pension checks are going out. The city has a stong financial foundation,” Stringer stated.
The comptroller said he believes in maintaining affordable housing, and gave attendees some details of the work his office has done.
“The first thing I did when I became comptroller, on Jan. 2, before I was even on my way to the office, we engaged the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) in a full-on top-tobottom audit,” he said. “Because we have got to figure out, finally, once and for all, what exactly is going on inside the administration of NYCHA, so that if we’re really going to protect peoples homes, if we’re really going to build the next generation of affordable housing, it starts with protecting the 600,000 people who live in public housing.
“And I will tell you, we just issued an economic status report and what we showed, is that within NYCHA, the repairs are slow to be made, there’s been a 946 percent increase in broken windows,” Stringer continued. “The fact that many of our children are growing up in apartments with increased mold, lack of repair, it doesn’t have to be this way.”
“And I promise you as comptroller, we’re going to work very hard through our audit power and through the work we do looking at the economy of the city to preserve and protect NYCHA. That is one of our number one priorities,” he added.
Small businesses news
Richard O’Hara, the borough director of inspectors for Brooklyn at the city Department of Consumer Affairs told Board 4 that significant changes have been made to the way the agency deals with small businesses since the incoming commissioner arrived in May of this year.
“We’re going through a lot of reforms,” he said. “We’re actually into more of an education mode with local businesses,” he said.
“We are actually reducing the amount of fines since May when the new commissioner came.”
Instead of immediately giving fines for minor infractions like missing required signage, the agency will give a 30 day grace period to remedy the situation for first-time violations, he said.
On the first violation, a business will now have 30 days to respond and clear the violation with no monetary penalty, O’Hara noted.
“We’re allowing the businesses to correct the violation,” before leveling a hefty fine,” he said
The Cure law went into effect June 30, and is now in active for truth in pricing violations as well, he stated. Stores are required by law to post the price of everything in the store–in the past, these fines could add up very quickly, he said.
“I really thought the small businesses were not being treated well,” he said. “I like the way the commissioner is going with that.”
In the past if an item wasn’t labeled a store owner could be given a violation for each count, and “would receive 15 counts that carried a $250 to $300 fine on each one,” O’Hara said.
Businesses will be hit with a fine if upon a second inspection the violation is not rectified.
“I really like the way it’s now going,” he said. “I think it’s going to go a long way to keeping small businesses in business.”
The next Community Board 4 meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the Hope Gardens Community Center, 195 Linden St., at 6 p.m.