On Oct. 1, the Country Club section of the Bronx, a middle class enclave that overlooks the Long Island Sound, will officially be considered a “non-solicitation real estate zone.” This should matter to residents living in Bedford Park.
This community, just five miles west of Country Club, should add it to its arsenal of neighborhood preservation tools to help thwart the issue of over development that’s become an ongoing problem within the community.
Here’s the catch: there has to be proof.
The designation stops pesky realtors from pitching homeowners to sell their homes. The Country Club section evinces a suburban-like setting. Residents there look to keep it so even in the face of aggressive development that’s swallowed the borough.
This could be a critical solution to the small band of residents wanting a less congested Bedford Park, a neighborhood that’s also grown mighty attractive to the number of developers who’ve decided to plant their flag on the neighborhood whether the project is appropriate for the neighborhood or not. Over development appears to be the watchword for Bedford Park these days.
As the Bronx Times Reporter noted in a recent write-up on the subject, solicitations in Country Club came in the form of glossy cards urging homeowners to sell for cash. Those cards were turned in as evidence to their local state legislators, who then turned them over to the New York State Department of State, the agency that approves or denies a zone. Realtors from Queens and Long Island also harangued homeowners by phone.
It’s hard to determine where Bedford Park ranks in the solicitation stage. But stories have floated of speculators personally visiting homeowners to offer money in exchange for their house. For residents who’ve carved a life for themselves in Bedford Park and grown annoyed by nagging realtors, this designation offers a solution.
The state Department of State approves the zone when enough evidence of “intense and repeated” solicitation is presented. The evidence can be in the form of the solicitations or phone calls homeowners repeatedly receive. Should a homeowner ever be confronted with such a call, it should be logged and taken to their state representatives. In Bedford Park’s case, that is to state Sen. Jamaal Bailey and state Assemblyman Jose Rivera.
For Bedford Park to make this happen, it needs to organize. Neighbors need to meet with neighbors to get a better understanding over whether solicitation stands as a major problem. The end game is to stymie development in a neighborhood never intended for high rises. Indifferent residents should wake up and realize that developers can blanket the neighborhood in the blink of an eye.
Of course, as governments go, a bureaucratic process involves an application that’s followed by hearings.
So if self-preservation, having the power to decide how you want your neighborhood to look like, matters to you, then there should be no time wasted. You should begin the process of collecting the information, saving it, turning it to legislators, and calling your neighbors.
Whether or not you’re successful doesn’t matter. Every effort should be made to preserve the character of the neighborhood and avoid being exploited.