Whitestone property a blight – By Alexa Altman (Queens Courier)
Whitestone, NY News -
Annoyed at the eyesore, local officials are finally addressing an abandoned Whitestone property – located at 24-19 Francis Lewis Boulevard – in the hopes of rousing the city’s Department of Finances (DOF) into taking action.
Senator Tony Avella and the North East Flushing Civic Association want to convert the dumping ground into a contributing entity of the community.
According to Avella’s representatives, the unidentified owner has failed to pay property taxes since October of 2009, therefore including the property under a list of tax liens – meaning three years has lapsed since the last tax payment was received, so the DOF can now put the property up for sale. Avella’s representatives alleged that the DOF received a check on the final day of payment for $9,772.11 from the property owner on August 3, 2011, removing this property from the 2011 list of tax liens. It was later discovered, according to Avella, that the check bounced.
“Shady things are going on there,” said Avella’s spokesperson Edward Fleming of the area, now consumed by graffiti and garbage. “We all want something put there because it’s an eyesore.”
Avella, who claims he is unsure of the property’s owner, wants to put pressure on the city, particularly the DOF, in hopes they will make changes to what he calls “a classic case of things falling through the cracks.” On Saturday January 14, Avella and Peter Brancazio, President of the North East Flushing Civic Association, gathered at the abandoned lot to bring awareness.
“We’re fortunate that in Queens people keep up their properties,” said Avella. “They shouldn’t have to live next to those eyesores for a decade.”
Avella claims he is committed to doing anything necessary to clean up this abandoned lot, which he says has been a problem for over 10 years. He also said that he hopes to spark legislation stemming from this incident, mandating that property owner’s checks need to be guaranteed.