Just as President Eisenhower worried about the “falling domino” principle that would spread Soviet influence in Indochina, Maria Becce of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association is concerned that a few instances of illegal parking practices in her neighborhood will become widespread.
“One house does it and it’s a domino effect,” she said. “We have three active complaints; one seems to have been resolved. We don’t want it to be 30.”
Broadway-Flushing, with its well-preserved Tudor Revival homes and cavernous lawns, is a rare breed of Queens neighborhood. With a large portion of it protected by the Rickert-Finlay Covenant, a deed restriction that limits homes to single-family usage that is not enforced by the Department of Buildings, the homeowners association must litigate to preserve the rule, and its members are vigilant about notifying city agencies and elected officials when they see misconduct of any kind in the neighborhood.
The DOB issued violations in October for the creation of an unpermitted parking pad at 35-69 168 St., an apartment building, according to a spokesman for the agency. Violations were also given for not complying with area parking regulations and work without a permit.
The agency also gave a violation at 35-66 165 St. for the illegal usage of the side yard as a parking lot in December. The Chronicle saw three cars in the property’s side yard on Wednesday.
And at 35-28 163 St., where a car was parked on pavers in the front yard when the Chronicle went to the site on Wednesday, the DOB issued a violation in October for not complying with a residential district’s parking regulations.
The owners of each of the buildings could not be reached for comment.
“This gentleman actually placed a sign in front of his house advertising being able to park on his property on the side yard,” Becce said of the house on 165th Street. “This homeowner was also sent a letter by the homeowners association’s attorneys. From what I gather, the cars are still there but he took the signs down.”
Becce added that she has not directly spoken with any of the homeowners.
According to the homeowners association president, Janet McCreesh, the owner of the house on 163rd Street “actually put down pavers over their front yard and has to go over the sidewalk to park there.” But Becce said that McCreesh is “putting the finishing touches on a letter to be sent within the next day or so.”
The problem of paving on driveways, according to Joseph Brostek, a member of the homeowners group, is not just aesthetic.
“It’s an environmental issue when you have people who are suddenly cementing over or bricking over what was a lawn,” he said. “I think you immediately recognize you’re affecting how rain gets absorbed into the ground. It affects runoff situations and you wind up with flooding in unexpected places.”
According to Community Board 7 Chairman Gene Kelty, the issues in Broadway-Flushing are not unprecedented in northeast Queens.
“We’ve had community groups complaining about parking on the sidewalk and parking on lawns,” he said, adding that installing pavers can lead to issues with stormwater. “It’s a quality of life issue.”