Because our neighborhood receives collection of refuse by the Department of Sanitation twice a week and our refuse is placed out on this schedule, this event gives rise to the possibility of most of the violations that detract from the quality of our neighborhood due to residents’ ignorance of or refusal to comply with the appropriate rules.
Some of the legal requirements that apply to this Sanitation service require that refuse must be in leak- proof receptacles with tightly fitting lids (as shown below) or in securely tied heavy duty opaque plastic bags (as shown below). The refuse must be kept within the premises or at the rear of the premises until the time of collection; the containers should not be placed out for collection earlier than 5 p.m. the day before the scheduled collection and no earlier than 4 p.m. during the winter months (October to April). When you travel through Holliswood, observe how many receptacles do not have tight fitting lids or none at all. When you see how other neighborhoods are plagued by raccoons or other pests, remember it is the availability of solid waste that attracts them as a food source. Once established in the neighborhood, it is difficult to remove them.
As to recycling collection, our neighborhood collection day is Monday. Holidays often fall on Monday. In this situation, the recycling collection will be accomplished on the following Monday. It is improper to allow your recycling materials to remain out for collection from a holiday Monday until the next Monday. In doing so this material is often scattered due to weather conditions and its being littered detracts from our neighborhood.
Voluntary compliance with these rules helps to maintain the attractive nature of our neighborhood. Failure to comply may result in the issuance of notices of violation that provide for penalties of $100 for the first and second violation and $200 for the third and any subsequent violation. The notices of violation are usually served by affixing a copy of the violation to the premises’ front door and mailing a second copy to the address of the registered owner.
These notices are adjudicated by the New York City Environmental Control Board; failure to pay upon an adjudication of violation or default can result in a lien against your home with interest running from the date of its judgment. Thus, when you seek to sell your home, these amounts would have to be paid with all interest as they would be a matter of public record on the title search.
The presence of many parked vehicles on a continuing basis in front of or adjacent to a particular premise may be an indication of an illegal conversion of a residence in violation of the zoning for this area. External evidence of illegal conversions can be found if they are extra doorbells, several mailboxes, or individual electric meters. Illegal conversions are a safety hazard as to fire because the electrical service added does not always comply with the Electrical Code, as well as taxing all municipal services beyond the level planned for.
As a result of additional enforcement leverage, if an owner is found in violation of an illegal occupancy and conversion, the Environmental Control Board is required by law to notify the federal, state and New York City tax authorities. Thus, if there has been illegal conversion where the owner has failed to report the rental income as part of the income tax returns, such owner runs the risk of tax enforcement by these authorities.
Promoting aesthetics, mitigating summer heat and reducing storm water runoff, all of the above are objectives that most homeowners would approve. On April 30, 2008, the City Council adopted the Department of City Planning’s “Yards Text Amendment”, part of which was intended to achieve the above benefits.
Prior to that time, the zoning regulations did not address the amount of planting and paving in yards with the result of that many front yards were completely paved for parking and driveways. In the absence of permeable front yard surfaces that would normally absorb storm water, the runoff into city sewers was increased and adjacent property owners could be adversely affected by such runoff.
To address this problem, the April 30th zoning change established a planting requirement in R-1 to R-5 districts as follows (as shown in table below).
This is measured from the area of the zoning line between the street line and the street wall of the building. As stated in the text of the Amendment, “ the planted areas shall be comprised of any combination of grass, ground cover, shrubs, trees or other living plant material.” (Section 23-451).
This Amendment also prohibits required parking spaces from locating in the required front yard in R-1 and R-2 districts, as well as reducing the height of allowable front yard fence and wall height in R-1 to R-5 districts from 8 feet to 4 feet.
Adherence to these zoning changes will help promote the unique nature of Holliswood.
|Street Frontage||Percentage of Planting Required|
|35 – 60 feet||30%|
|60 feet or greater||50%|
On a less serious note, parking of commercial vehicles on a residential street is prohibited between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
If residents of our neighborhood exert efforts to comply with these and other legal requirements, we will all be the beneficiaries of the neighborhood of which we can be proud.