Woodhaven small businesses getting late-night fines
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 24, 2013 | 1123 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Eric Ulrich speaking at the Woodhaven Residents Block Association meeting.
Councilman Eric Ulrich speaking at the Woodhaven Residents Block Association meeting.
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At roughly 2:45 a.m., Jamaica Avenue is mostly deserted, but that’s precisely the time the Woodhaven Residents Block Association members say the organization has been receiving violations from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) for improper garbage disposal.

This isn’t the first time that the block association’s office, located at 84-20 Jamaica Avenue, has been hit with tickets and fines for garbage that had been dumped in front the building.

“It’s kind of an ongoing battle,” said association president Ed Wendell.

Wendell, only half-jokingly, said that DSNY want’s proof that the garbage did not belong to the block association after the “evidence” had already been removed.

“These tickets were written in the middle of night,” he said. “You don’t even have a chance to see the garbage.”

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wrote a letter on behalf of the block association requesting that DSNY look into the incidents, as well as a change the policy.

“It is my understanding that there are rules regarding when a property owner can be ticketed for failure to shovel snow in front of their property, such as not being required to shovel snow from a snowfall that stopped after 9 p.m. the night before,” the public advocate’s letter read. “I ask that DSNY create similar rules regarding when property owners can be fined for garbage improperly disposed of, so that people are not given tickets unfairly.”

Following the letter, the block association received a phone call from DSNY asking how they would be able to remedy the ongoing issues.

Councilman Eric Ulrich spoke about creating legislation that would put an end to these types of practices.

“When we find loopholes in the law,” Ulrich said, “that the city uses to nickel and dime residents and small business, we have to close those loopholes, that we eliminate them all together.”

The councilmember noted a law that states DSNY can only give out tickets to homeowners two hours during the day, and the community has to be notified of those. However, the same doesn’t apply to commercial properties.

“In this instance they are saying that 1, 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning is when they were giving out those tickets and that is unacceptable,” said Ulrich.

“Small businessmen and women on Jamaica Avenue, on Myrtle Avenue, on Woodhaven Boulevard, they cannot be held responsible for maintaining the front of their property when they’re not there in the middle of the night,” he added.

Ulrich said he believes small business owners should keep their portion of the community clean, but that the current policy is unfair.

“We will be introducing legislation that holds the Department of Sanitation as accountable as it does for homeowners,” he said. ”We’re going to make sure that they do that for businesses as well. We are going to change the law. I promise you that.”

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