This week in Willowtown tenants of Riverside Apartments rejoice in the news that the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) upheld it original decision and denied the appeal of the landlord for administrative review of an earlier decision. This decision was short and to the point; The building of a parking garage after the common courtyard was illegally demolished almost 2 decades ago is not restoration of services lost.
Leslie Toress, Deputy Commissioner, replied to the landlord in a brief three page response. Selected quotes show the tone of the letter was very distinct as it seems the DHCR is tiring of the landlords games and frivoulouse use of public resources as he tries to push his plan through, in spite of the logic of the situation.
The letter mainly responded to the fact that the DHCR did not have sufficient evidence to conclude that the existing trees, as tall as the 6 story buildings, were better for the area than the replacement trees proposed. In a single paragraph, containing a single sentence Leslie Torres stated:
While deference should be given to experts when appropriate, the decider of fact must not check their logic and reason at the door.
She went on to say:
. . . no expert opinion is needed to determine facts that are self-evident . . .
In reponse to the traffic that the landlord said would not be increased it was stated:
. . . it must be remembered that there was originally no vehicular traffic in the courtyard . . . this is clearly more than existed . .
The landlord, Joel Wiener of Pinnacle Management, LLC, still has the option to challenge the decision in the New York Supreme Court. We are confident that the decision will stand and applaud DHCR for taking such a strong stand in this case. The Willowtown Association has and will continue to be a proud supporter of the efforts at Riverside to both protect the tenants rights and maintain the charm that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live.