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Bronx Community Districts

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MINUTES OF COMMUNITY BOARD #6

Meeting minutes of Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Members present:
Bernard Abudu, Jannie Armstrong, Virginia Bird, Evonne Capers, Leticia Cintron, Sahre Davis, Diana Diaz, Margarita Espinosa, Maria Garcia, Sara Logan, Magdamari Marcano, Isabel Matias, Bourema Niambele, Floretta A. O’Brien, Rosa Peraza, Wendy Rodriguez, Moussa Siby, Denise Sleigh-Bradley, Alexis Thornton, and Perquida Williams.

Members absent:
Tair Aziov, Dior Doward (left the meeting before roll call), Frank Franz, Marie Howse, April Hurley, and Dr. Helene Jones.
Elected officials representatives:
Aurea Mangual, representing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Jennifer Rosado, representing State Senator Jeff Klein
Miguel Rondon, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Ramon Cabral, representing Congressman Jose Serrano
Bragan McGowan, representing Assemblyman Michael Blake
Aicha Bamba, representing City Council Member Ritchie Torres

I. CALL TO ORDER
The June 10, 2015 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was held at the Belmont Library, which is located at 610 East 186th Street, Bronx, New York, and was called to order at approximately 6:42 p.m. by board Chairperson Wendy Rodriguez.

II. INVOCATION
The meeting’s invocation was delivered by Chaplin Perquida Williams, chair of the community board’s Youth & Education Committee.

III. COMMUNITY PERIOD
The following individuals requested to speak as part of the meeting’s Community Period:
Mr. Aldo Perez, representing the Northeast Bronx Dawah
Mr. Perez alerted us to the devastating impact the drug K2 is having on our community. K2 is synthetic marijuana and is sending large numbers of people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. Mr. Perez also provided us with copies of a fact sheet that described the dangerous side effects of smoking K2.

Ms. Clemente Mejia, representing the Neighborhood Housing Services of South Bronx, Mr. Mejia informed us that the Neighborhood Housing Service of South Bronx is sponsoring several community resource fairs. The fair that is to be held on Sunday June 14, 2015 will provide information on immigration and financial empowerment services. The second fair, which will be held on Saturday, June 20, 2015, will offer information for first-time home buyers. Additional details about either of the two resource fairs may be obtained by telephoning (718) 992-5979.

Ms. Benedicta Darteh
Ms. Darteh, who interned at the community board’s district office for the past several months, thanked the community board for the experience and opportunity that it provided her. She will continue to intern at the office until mid-August, 2015, at which time she will then attend college at the George Town University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Mrs. Rosemary Ordonez-Jenkins, representing the Friends of Crotona Park
Ms. Ordonez-Jenkins invited us to attend the Friends of Crotona Park’s annual Family Day Celebration that is to be held on Saturday, June 20, 2015, from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. in Crotona Park near East 173rd Street and Fulton Avenue. Individuals wishing additional information about the celebration may telephone the Family Day Committee at (917) 243-7060

Ms. Milsa Cintron, from Bronx Community Board #7
Ms. Cintron informed us that Bronx Community Board #7 wishes to establish a lingage with our community board inasmuch as we share many of the same issues and concerns. She also offered to help us publicize our activities and meetings through the Bronx Beat newspaper.

Ms. Jessica Ortiz, representing the New York City Department of City Planning
Ms. Ortiz announced that the community board’s Housing & Land Use and Transportation committees are to hold an informational meeting on June 25, 2015 where representatives of the Department of City Planning will discuss its new report entitled “Housing New York: Zoning for Quality and Affordability”. The report advocates using zoning and text amendment changes to eliminated the requirement for on-site parking at some senior citizens and affordable housing developments.

Ms. Sylvia Burnett, representing the Fordham Towers Tenants Association
Ms. Burnett complained that large vehicles, including oil trucks, are using East 188th Street as a shortcut to Fordham Road. She stated that this poses a serious danger for pedestrians.
District Manager Ivine Galarza asked Ms. Burnett to telephone her at the community board’s district office in order that they may discuss this matter in greater detail.

Mr. Bill Busk
Mr. Busk identified himself as residing on East Tremont Avenue between Park and Washington avenues, and stated that, as such, he received no prior notice of the construction project that is taking place one block away from him on East Tremont Avenue between Webster and Park avenues. He is concerned that the project, when it is completed, be affordable. Mr. Busk also mentioned that the West Farms Rapid Park project has yet to be completed even through it initially had a projected completion date of 2010 or 2011.

Ms. Galarza summarized the community board’s past meetings concerning the construction project to which Mr. Busk referred (The Tremont Renaissance) and invited Mr. Busk to meet with her at the community board district office at his convenience in order that she may provide him with additional background information on this matter.

Ms. Barbara Nikonorow, representing Partnership for Parks
Ms. Nikonorow informed us about Partnership for Parks’ recent activity cleaning and beautifying Cicerone Park. She also encouraged us to visit the High Bridge which was reopened on June 9, 2015 after many years of being closed to the public. Lastly, she announced that Ms. Iris Rodriguez has been appointed as the Bronx’s new borough commissioner for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreations.

Ms. Melanie Clark
Ms. Clark complained that the numerous automobile repair shops located on Park Avenue between East 180th and East 182nd streets continuously park cars on the sidewalk and monopolize the limited number of public on-street parking spaces by storing vehicles in the parking spots until such time as they are ready repair them. This pattern of behavior makes it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalks and deprives the area’s homeowners of convenient public parking spaces. Ms. Clark cited Tri-State Automotive as being one of the worst offenders.

Ms. Galarza informed Ms. Clark that she would resubmit her complaint to the police department. She also informed Ms. Clark that the department recently towed a large number of cars that were illegally parked on Park Avenue and in several other problematic locations throughout our community.

IV. BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s report was presented by his community liaison, Ms. Aurea Mangual, and included, but was not limited to, the following information:
● Borough President Diaz appointed close to 90 new community board members to the borough’s twelve community boards. An orientation/training session for the new members will be held on Monday, July 20, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at Lehman College.
● The borough president has issued a statement condemning an incident where a Manhattan cab driver refused to take the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to the Bronx.
● Borough President Diaz has provided one million dollars in capital funding toward the development of 134 units of affordable housing at 810 River Avenue, Bronx, New York.

On a personal note, Ms. Mangual announced that she will be retiring on July 3, 2015. She thanked the community board for its support and stated that it was a pleasure to have worked with us over the years.

V. ELECTED OFFICIALS’ REPORTS
Ms. Jennifer Rosado, representing State Senator Jeff Klein
Ms. Rosado announced that Senator Klein is sponsoring a community forum on the SCRIE (Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption) and the EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage) programs. She also informed us that Monday, June 15, 2015 is “Bronx Day” in Albany, New York.

Mr. Miguel Rondon, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Mr. Rondon informed us that Senator Rivera will sponsor a community resource and information forum regarding immigration issues on June 14, 2015 at 290 East 196th Street, Bronx, New York. The senator will also sponsor a forum on July 10, 2015 from 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. at Monroe College that will address issues that impact senior citizens. On August 21, 2015 Senator Rivera will co-sponsor a school backpack giveaway at Tremont Park.

Ms. Bragan McGowan, representing Assemblyman Michael Blake
Ms. McGowan introduced herself as being a new intern working in Assemblyman Blake’s office. She announced that the assemblyman will be a moderator at Bronx Borough President Diaz’s June 11, 2015 Bronx Borough Tech summit. She also invited us to attend the June 27, 2015 grand opening of Assemblyman Blake’s new district office at 780 Concourse Village West. The office’s telephone number is (718) 538-3829.
Mr. Ramon Cabral, representing Congressman Jose Serrano

Mr. Cabral reported on the June 9, 2015 reopening of the High Bridge. He also informed us that on June 29, 2015 Congressman Serrano will meeting with constituents at the Patterson Senior Citizen Center.

Ms. Aicha Bamba, representing City Council Member Ritchie Torres
Ms. Bamba announced the voting results of Council Member Torres’s Participatory Budgeting. The council member’s district (council district #15) was fifth, citywide, in terms of the number of votes casted. Ms. Bamba also announced that Council Member Torres will soon sponsor a bike helmet giveaway. His office will notify the community once the date for this activity has been decided.

VI. DISTRICT MANAGER’S REPORT
A copy of Ms. Galarza’s written report was included in our meeting packages.

Ms. Galarza thanked Ms. Mangual for her long service to the community board. She also elaborated on the May 14, 2015 towing operation where, in response to the community board’s complaints, the police department seized numerous unlicensed and/or illegally parked cars from various locations throughout our community.

Ms. Galarza also announced that the community board is still accepting resumes for the position of Community Assistant. The final day to submit a resume is June 12, 2015. To date, the community board has received 45 resumes. Candidates for the position will be interviewed by a committee consisting of Ms. Galarza, board Chair Wendy Rodriguez, 1st Vice Chair Sara Logan, and board member Alexis Thornton.

VII. CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT
Mrs. Rodriguez introduced and welcomed the community board’s new members (Mr. Bernard Abudu, Ms. Sahre Davis, Ms. Bourema Niambele, and Mr. Moussa Siby) and reminded them that the borough president’s orientation session for new members will be held at Lehman College on Monday, July 20, 2015.

Mrs. Rodriguez also announced that letters will be sent to all community board members sometime during the summer asking them to name the committee(s) on which they wish to serve.

VIII. A PUBLIC HEARING ON UNIFORM LAND USE REVIEW PROCEDURE APPLICATION # 150301MCX.
The community board then conducted a public hearing on the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application submitted by the Department of Transportation, pursuant to Section 1917-c of the New York City Charter, to grant a major concession to the Fordham Road Business Improvement District (Fordham Road BID) for the maintenance and management of Fordham Plaza, which is bounded by East Fordham Road, Third Avenue and East 189th Street.

The only person to register offer testimony as part of the hearing was Mr. Joseph Padilla who questioned why the Fordham Road BID is to be given significant control over the plaza for five years. He stated that the public does know what the Fordham Road BID’s plans are for the plaza or what will happen to the plaza’s current vendors that will be displaced.

Ms. Galarza and several community board members (Ms. Margarita Espinosa, and Parliamentarian Rosa Peraza among others) stressed to Mr. Padilla that all of his questions were raised and answered previously at the May 2015 public meeting of the community board’s Transportation Committee.

IX. SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Mr. Charles McKinnery, Principal Urban Planner, provided a detailed presentation on New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s 20-year Master Plan for Crotona and Tremont parks. He stated that the focal point of the plan is to make the parks the center of the community. Among other things, the plan includes a proposed three-quarter soccer field; a track for jogging and walking; and maintaining the stairs that are located on the Third Avenue side of Tremont Park.

The plan had been previously presented and discussed at several meetings of the community board’s Parks and Recreation Committee.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Mr. McKinnery requested a resolution from the community board stating that it is in favor of the 220-Year Master Plan. With such a resolution, Department of Parks and Recreation will then present the plan to local elected officials, including city council members, the borough president, and state Assembly members, in the hope that they will provide funding necessary to bring it to fruition.

X ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE
A roll call attendance was taken confirming the present of a quorum of twenty-one (21) members.

XI. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Health & Human Services Committee: Ms. Diana Diaz, Committee Chair
Ms. Diaz reported on the business that was conducted at the Health and Human Services Committee meeting of May 27, 2015. At that meeting, a representative of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene informed the committee members about the wide range of services that the department offers. Ms. Diaz also announced that the committee, working in conjunction with the department, will convene a “Rat Academy” on Monday, June 29, 2015 at Casella Plaza, which is located at 961 East 180th Street, Bronx, New York. Those persons attending the “academy” will learn how to rodent-proof their homes, apartments and businesses.

Law Enforcement Committee: Ms. Claudette Coles, Committee Chair
Ms. Coles reported on the matters that were discussed at the May 19, 2015 meeting of the 48th police precinct’s community council which included our community’s current crime statistics and reports of gunshots. Ms. Coles announced that the police precinct’s annual fellowship breakfast will be held on June 19, 2015, and that the community council’s next general meeting will be held at the police precinct on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Lastly, she announced that this year’s National Night Out Against Crime will be held on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at Crescent Avenue and East 187th Street.

Parks and Recreation Committee: Ms. Margie Espinosa, Committee Chair
Ms. Espinosa invited us to participate in the Parks and Recreation Committee’s June 27, 2015 “It’s My Park Day!” activity where members of the community board and local volunteers will clean and beautify the Happy Land Memorial monument and sitting area which is located at East Tremont Avenue and Southern Boulevard. The activity will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2:00 p.m.

Senior Citizens Outreach Committee: Mrs. Virginia Bird, Committee Chair
Mrs. Bird reported that the Senior Citizens Outreach Committee took thirty (30) senior citizens to Phipps Neighborhoods’ May 9, 2015 “Mothers’ Day” activity.

Transportation Committee: Ms. Magdamarie Marcano, Committee Chair
Ms. Marcano reported on the business that was conducted at the Transportation Committee’s meeting of May 21, 2015. At that time the committee met with representatives of the New York City Department of Transportation to discuss the department’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application (application # 150301MCX) which proposes to grant a major concession for the maintenance and management of Fordham Plaza to the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

Ms. Marcano stressed that the committee voted to recommend that the full community board recommend approval of the application with the following stipulations:
● That the promotion and participation of events [at the plaza] should include Community Board #6 businesses, organizations, schools and constituents; and that activities be submitted to the Community Board District #6.
● That all permits should be reviewed by the Community Board #6 and must comply with the rules of the city’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO).
● The BID should create an Advisory Board which should include a Community Board #6 member.

Youth & Education Committee: Ms. Perquida Williams, Committee Chair
Ms. Williams announce that although her committee did not have a meeting last month, it is nonetheless still seeking to work with our local schools in preparation for its first meeting following the community board’s summer recess.

XII. ADOPTION OF MOTIONS
1. A motion to adopt the minutes of Bronx Community Board #6’s meeting of April 8, 2015 was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Ms. Espinosa and unanimously adopted by acclamation.

2. Pursuant to a motion made by Ms. Marcano and second by Ms. Sara Logan, the community board voted to recommend approval of Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application # 150301MCX with the following stipulation:
● That the promotion and participation of events should include Community Board 6 businesses, organizations, schools and constituents; and that activities be submitted to the Community Board District 6.
● That all permits should be reviewed by the Community Board 6 and must comply with the rules of the city’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO).
● The BID should create an Advisory Board which should include a Community Board Six Member.

3. A motion to issue a letter in support of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s 20-year Master Plan for Crotona and Tremont parks was made by Ms. Espinosa, seconded by Ms. Williams and adopted by a vote of 21 in favor, zero opposed and zero abstentions.
4. A motion to issue a letter to the New York City Council in support of a legislative package introduced by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr and Council Member Rafael Espinal “…relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spars, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs…” of New York City, was made by Ms. Diaz, seconded by Mrs. Bird and adopted by a vote of 21 in favor, zero opposed and zero abstentions.

XIII. ADJOURNMENT
There being no other business to discuss, a motion to adjourn the June 10, 2015 meeting of Bronx Community Broad #6 was made by Ms. Rosa Peraza, seconded by Ms. Williams and unanimously adopted by acclamation.

Respectfully submitted by:
Leslie A. Jones
Community Coordinator



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