Recently residents concerned with airplane and helicopter flights over Floral Park met with me to discuss possible strategies for safeguarding the integrity of the skies overhead. There has been an increase in air traffic and altered landing patterns. It is imperative that we aggressively seek ways to protect the village from not only the noise but the air-pollution associated with aircraft.
The threat of additional flights involving LaGuardia, Kennedy Airport and a heliport operated by the Port of Authority confronts us. At present flight patterns affect certain parts of the village but this could change. Residents who notice a change in flight patterns, especially after 11 p.m., or are troubled by airplane noise and fumes or helicopter intrusions, please call 326-6300 day or night. Please give the flight time, name, address, and telephone number. You will receive information from the new Noise Abatement Committee headed by the village's Noise Abatement Officer Steven Rebish and with Trustee Gerry Bambrick serving as the board liaison.
The existence of illegal apartments in Floral Park is a quality of life matter. They place an undue burden on taxpayers and residents by increasing demands on general services such as police and fire protection and sanitation. The village has an aggressive program for eliminating illegal apartments and residents have been very supportive of our efforts.
Property owners create illegal apartments to make money and make life easier for themselves. It's unfortunate that the homeowner choosing to become a landlord did not have the foresight to purchase one of our nearly 660 legal two-family houses.
In Floral Park, cellar or basement apartments are illegal, not to mention unhealthy and unsafe. Some legal two-family homes have a third illegal apartment in the basement or attic. In addition, there are a growing number of homes with illegal apartments owned by "absentee landlords" who often neglect their properties and ignore ordinances.
Our private investigator works in cooperation with the Village Building Department superintendent and carries identification and a letter of authorization from the village. Investigations often lead to court summonses, trials, fines of up to $2,500 and a re-inspection agreement. When a matter goes to court, village prosecuting attorneys recommend substantial fines. Outcomes depend on the evidence that can be collected but in general, 25 percent of complaints result in illegal findings. Many are dismissed because the house is found to be a legal two-family. After an illegality is corrected through the court, code enforcers are diligent in monitoring the location.
Residents can call the building department during business hours at 326-6319 and provide information if they suspect an illegal dwelling.
Congratulations to the new officers of the Friends. It will be a pleasure to attend their giant annual book sale on June 9 at the library from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. After eight years as president, I won't need to worry about the weather and rain getting the paperbacks wet but I can still work with the volunteers as they help the crowd of browsers and bargain book hunters.
Just in the last three years this volunteer group raised more than $27,000 for our local library.
The village receives many complaints about dog owners and walkers and their unneighborly practices. Years ago a law related to this was amended. The amendment, referred to as the "Pooper-Scooper Law," requires the dog walker to "pick up" dog waste. Posted signs serve to encourage compliance.
The original law, still in effect, addresses the areas a dog can be walked. This is known as "curbing." A dog can only be walked on the street between the curbs and not on public land or in public parks. Dogs cannot be walked on sidewalks or the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road.
New signs to remind folks that dogs are prohibited from walking on public property will be posted in various areas of the village and will be enforced.