For starters, if you aren’t already, become a member of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. The WRBA is like a union for residents; we stick together and fight for each other.
The WRBA’s next Town Hall meeting will be held on Saturday, July 19, at 10 a.m. at Emanuel United Church of Christ, 93-12 91st Avenue. Please note the early start time. Start your day with a town hall meeting and have the rest of the day for summer activities.
The top complaint we hear from residents during the summer is noise, generally from late-night parties. No one wants to infringe on their neighbor’s desire to have fun in their backyard, but some residents break out the loud speakers and party until dawn, leaving you unable to sleep, feeling angry and frustrated.
Most of these noise complaints are about repeat offenders, so here is what you need to do. Call 311 often. Ask your other neighbors, who are undoubtedly similarly frustrated, to call 311 as well. Here’s the important part: keep those 311 complaint numbers and send them all along to the WRBA.
By saving this information you will begin building a case that we can use to begin working with the police to resolve your issue.
On a recent walk through Woodhaven I saw a handmade sign hung on a tree saying “I have zero use for dog (droppings) so please pick your dog (droppings) up!” This is a sign born from the frustration of another top complaint from residents regarding the mess left by people too lazy to clean up after their pets.
Again, the complaints we get are from people who are victims of habitual slobs. The answer here is to monitor your property closely, and since dogs tend to target the same spot, this part should be easy).
Check it every four to six hours until you establish a pattern. Then, within that time frame, check hourly so that you can establish a fairly narrow window in which this happens.
Then, call 311 and feed that information to the WRBA. We will contact the Department of Sanitation on your behalf and they will come out and stake out the area at that time and give the offending dog owner a summons.
Another hot complaint each summer is the explosion of graffiti in our community. The WRBA has a five-point program for combating graffiti, which we will discuss at our meeting on the 19th, but here’s a great way you can do your part in cleaning our neighborhood easily and anonymously.
In your travels around the neighborhood, whenever you see a home that has been “tagged” remember or write down the address and call it in to 311 You do not have to own a property to request the city clean up graffiti. It will take five minutes or less to report, and what will you do with the complaint number? You guessed it, send it along to the WRBA for follow-up.
The WRBA can be reached easily enough via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving us a message at (718) 296-3735.
If you took five minutes twice a week - seriously, who can’t spare 10 minutes a week to make their neighborhood cleaner - at the end of the summer you would have been responsible for between 20 and 30 properties getting cleaned.
If just 40 people did this, 1,000 houses would be marked for cleaning. The city does respond to graffiti complaints. Sometimes it takes six or seven weeks, but it does get done.
Don’t wait for other people to do this. Make sure that you do your part to make your community a better place to live. And there’s no better way to start doing this than getting involved with the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association by attending a meeting.
Over time you’ll find out that we’re more than just an organization that can help you resolve your problems. We’re your friends and neighbors, and we’re involved in a lot of fun projects that generate good feelings. But let’s start by helping you resolve one of your problems and the rest will follow.
We hope to see you at the next meeting on Saturday, July 19, at 10 a.m. Until then, follow the instructions above and let’s see if we can’t help you enjoy your summer just a little bit more.