2002-07-13 / Community

Helen Marshall Reconvenes Task Force

Helen Marshall Reconvenes Task Force

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall reconvened the Queens Illegal Conversion Task Force recently because of a growing number of complaints across the borough about apartments that are overcrowded and potentially unsafe.

Marshall came away from the two-hour meeting with a laundry list of issues that committees of the task force will examine. Among the major concerns we will be addressing are: illegal curb cuts, front lawn parking and new procedures for allowing the installation of additional electrical meters in homes.

The borough President also announced that she would be holding a series of four workshops to advise homeowners and potential homeowners what space can be converted legally and what is not allowed under the law. "These workshops will include legal and architectural professionals," said Marshall.

Prompted by a growing tide of complaints from many communities to the City Department of Buildings, Marshall reconvened the multiagency task force, which had not met since February. The Task Force was initially formed in 1997 in response to widespread illegal conversions. It brought together elected officials, city agencies, communities and civic groups in a combined effort to find ways to reduce the rising number of illegally converted apartments, monitor ongoing enforcement efforts and recommend ways to address the problem.

"The most serious problems created by illegal conversions is the threat of losing lives due to fires started by overloaded and inadequate electrical systems," said the Borough President. "The insidious spread of these apartments also causes additional strains on municipal services and overcrowded schools."

Anyone who wishes to report an illegal apartment can contact the Buildings Department at (212) 227-7000.

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