State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and northeast Queens co-op owners are calling on the city to include co-ops and condos in its program to inspect sidewalks damaged by trees.
Currently, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation will inspect to determine whether a sidewalk has been damaged by a tree.
If the agency finds significant damage, it will enroll private homeowners in a program in which the city would repair the sidewalk for free.
But co-op and condo owners are not eligible for the service and are frequently left to repair the damage themselves.
Avella has proposed a bill that would codify the city’s tree program, which is currently just a policy, into law as well as extend it to co-ops and condos.
“Co-ops and condos are individually owned, so why should they be treated differently?” Avella said. “The city should pay for it. It is, after all, the city’s fault. We’d go a long way to save co-ops and condos some money since they are always hard pressed financially.”
Today, the senator joined representatives from the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, Glen Oaks Village and other co-op owners to call for the Parks Department to include co-op and condo owners in the Trees and Sidewalks Program.
“It levels the playing field,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “This treats us the same as single-family homes, which we are. And it would eliminate trip hazards.”
Schreiber said it has been costly for co-op owners in his community to fix their own sidewalks that have been damaged by trees.
“We’ve had to get contractors to come in and cut the roots that are creating bulges in the sidewalks,” he said. “This has to be done under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation and requires a permit to close off the sidewalks. It’s really expensive.”