Sanitation, Quality of Life Issues are Talk of WRBA Town Hall

Sanitation, Quality of Life Issues are Talk of WRBA Town Hall

PHOTO: New high-end trash receptacles have not done much to deter illegal dumping along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven. Photo Courtesy of Alex Blenkinsopp

Quality of life issues—illegal dumping and Sanitation enforcement, noise complaints—dominated the dialog last Saturday morning at this month’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association Town Hall.

Improper and illegal garbage dumping has been an issue that has affected Woodhaven and neighboring Queens communities for decades. Back in April, City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) office allocated funds to replace standard wire litter baskets along Jamaica Avenue with new high-end ones, with smaller openings designed to curb the dumping practices that have plagued the busy commercial corridor.

However, as evidenced in a recent series of photographs recently posted to Twitter by Woodhaven resident Alex Blenkinsopp, the problem has not been corrected.

“I had no idea what to expect, but said ‘Let me take a look,’” Blenkinsopp said, “and of course that’s what greeted me. The first thing I thought was ‘This is disgusting, this is my neighborhood, this is my home.’ The second thing was ‘I guess the new garbage cans haven’t fixed the problem.”

For many residents at the meeting, long-term enforcement seemed to be a viable option.

“Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working,” Ulrich lamented on Saturday.

However, enforcement—specifically DSNY’s overnight ticketing policy—has also been an issue for some Jamaica Avenue property owners.

In October, the WRBA said it is a common nighttime occurrence for people to dump trash outside Jamaica Avenue storefronts. Then, DSNY agents write summonses in the middle of the night, fining the victimized property owners—including the WRBA, which is contesting a fine from March—for failing to dispose of garbage that they had actually never seen. These owners, the civic said, are getting fined for dumping “they could not possibly have prevented or corrected.” Additionally, the group detailed how the agents many times take the trash with them when they write the ticket, without providing any photographs to the fined party.

The DSNY has said that Notices of Violation “may be issued at any time of the day or evening…” and that since NOVs issued in the early morning hours cannot be personally served, “an officer comes back during the day and attempts to personally serve” it.

Last Saturday, Ulrich indicated that he is trying to set up a meeting between Sanitation officials and WRBA officers to discuss the penalty process and how to remedy the dumping issues.

Community Affairs Officer Jose Severino detailed how overall crime is down in the 102nd Precinct by about 10 percent compared to this time last year. Burglary and grand larceny have seen the most significant drops—29 and 21 percent, respectively—compared to this period in 2014.

But some residents and civic members said that while the command’s major crime story is trending toward the positive, they’re still dealing with quality of life offenses, such as loitering and noise, on a consistent basis.

The Select Bus Service project also garnered some time last Saturday. Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) asked if anyone present was in favor of the Woodhaven Boulevard-Cross Bay Boulevard corridor plan. No one raised a hand.


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