Neighborhood divided: Locals at odds over proposed homeowners association

Back off: Stanton Court resident Mike Rodriguez says he doesn’t need the city telling him how to maintain his neighborhood’s private streets.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Call it a homeowners dissociation!

Residents of Sheepshead Bay’s courts are split whether to form a homeowners association to pay for needed repairs to their private streets. The city’s Sandy-recovery program Build It Back is offering to fix up their broken sewers — which homeowners are actually responsible for maintaining — if they agree to get organized and put money away for future maintenance. But some say they’ve been getting along okay for years, and the association will just be another tax.

“If they’re not charging the rest of the world for this, don’t come after us. It’s wrong, it’s really wrong,” said Michael Rodriguez of Stanton Road. “It’s just an output of the city to have us take care of things on our own, which we’ve been doing anyway.”

But residents have been waiting for years for the federally funded Build It Back to repair their homes, and a few naysayers won’t stop locals from taking advantage of a one-time freebee, another resident said.

“There might be a few people who don’t want to, but it’s not going to stop us if we want to create the association,” said Missy Haggerty of Lake Avenue. “I say like 60 percent of the court will do the association.”

And trying to block the association may actually stall recovery — Build It Back officials aim to fix broken private sewers and elevate entire blocks’ worth of homes in one fell swoop, but first they want residents in the fractured neighborhood to agree on the plan — something that has further delayed work there.

Build It Back and Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) met with residents of the courts on May 17 to discuss options for going forward, but many left with more questions than answers, said one attendee who likes the association idea in theory but said the city could not provide a time line for repairs or how much the association might cost homeowners.

“They try to do some good things, but it’s a lot of responsibility that everybody has to take, and I don’t know how long or when they are going to start. I have no clue,” said Arthur Nazarov of Lake Avenue.

A Build It Back spokesman declined to go into specifics about the plan and said officials are waiting on a response from homeowners. Deutsch did not respond to multiple inquiries.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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