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Queens Chronicle

Cease-and-desist questions linger

Avella: Zones are effective on Sept. 1; NY Dept. of State says otherwise

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Posted: Thursday, August 3, 2017 10:30 am

When, if ever, will northeast Queens receive the two cease-and-desist zones that New York State has proposed to combat aggressive real estate solicitation? It depends on whom you ask.

The office of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) — a lawmaker who spearheaded the effort to protect homeowners with cease-and-desist zones — has asked homeowners to submit comments to the state Department of State “supporting the proposed regulations that are slated to go into effect” on the first of September. Comments, however, will be accepted until Sept. 8, the end of the 45-day period for them.

According to maps released by Avella, the DOS has proposed two sections of northeast Queens — Bay Terrace along with portions of Bayside, Whitestone, Flushing and College Point — as cease-and-desist zones. Homeowners who live in the zones could, if they wish, be placed on a registry that prevents real estate agents from soliciting them once the rules take effect.

But according to the DOS, the regulations could not go into effect on Sept. 1.

“Rules cannot be adopted until at least the end of the public comment period (ending Sept. 8), and September 1 falls within that comment period,” an agency spokesperson told the Chronicle in an emailed statement.

How about the timing for implementation of the rule, after the comment period? “We would not know at this time,” the spokesperson said.

The DOS did not immediately respond to the Chronicle’s follow-up question about what the time frame generally is between the implementation or lack thereof for a proposed rule after the public comment period.

In no uncertain terms, Avella said at a press conference last week that “there will be a 45-day public comment period before the regs go into effect.”

All of Queens was once covered by the regulation.

When Avella was asked for his response to the DOS saying that the zones were not slated to take effect at the beginning of next month, he stood by his original statement.

“They said to us, Sept. 1, it’s effective,” Avella explained. “It’s done, unless, all of a sudden, some crazy thing happens in the public comment period.”

But, the senator said, there is a difference between the date the zones become effective and what he called an “operational date”: when realtors have the list of people in the areas that they cannot solicit.

“So, it’s really not going to be effective until the list is published,” he said.

Regardless of if or when the cease-and-desist zones will be implemented, the Long Island Board of Realtors, whose region includes Queens, plans to use the public comment period to urge the state not to go through with them.

Although it has no plans on suing, the industry alliance believes that there is a major legal issue with implementing the zones. As LIBOR President David Legaz pointed out to the Chronicle, the policy had previously been implemented to prevent blockbusting along with “intense and repetitive soliciting.”

The blockbusting component of the statutory standard, he said, has not been met and complaints about the issue were not a major part of the testimony given at hearings in the cease-and-desist zones.

“We’ll take advantage of the 45-day period,” he said.

Chronicle freelancer Mark Lord contributed to this story.

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1 comment:

  • Rafick Bdaro posted at 11:55 am on Sat, Aug 5, 2017.

    Rafick Bdaro Posts: 21

    It seems everywhere I am walking around Flushing especially by 32nd avenue between Bowen Park and Parsons Blvd. Union Street north of 32nd avenue, there are real estate signs everywhere, WHERE I ALSO notice is the homes that were in well kept shape, are becoming similar to the homes closer to Main street, over grown weeds, dirty. I mean clearly theyre driving the prices way up and promoting a sense of "White Flight" in the neighborhood, at least I feel that, since it is mostly the non majority demographic they are selling.