A resident of Huron Street interviewed by the paper said he and his neighbors were concerned that a developer would purchase the land and build row houses on it. He added that the area was already congested with traffic and has no sewers, so it floods when it rains, adding that construction of these additional homes would just create more problems for the residents.
Many Centerville homeowners believe they should be given preference in bidding for the property adjacent to their homes.
However, John Ryan, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of NYRA, said the organization is not allowed to give preference to any buyer.
"Unfortunately, the neighboring property owners, many who have cared for the abutting property, will have to participate in the bid for possession of the land at the June 10 auction," explained Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who represents the area. "Since the land auction is mandated by the Bankruptcy Court, whose ruling takes precedent, there is no intervention that I and other local elected officials can take on their behalf to grant them some advantage in the sale."
Councilman Eric Ulrich said that initially people were misled about the bidding process.
"They thought they were going to be given preference," said Ulrich, adding, "They were disappointed."
Ulrich said his obligation is in keeping with the integrity of the community and character of the neighborhood. He said he would ensure that the builders adhere to the existing zoning laws.
The properties, touted by the auctioneer, David R. Maltz & Co., Inc., as a "Prime Opportunity to Build Your Dream Home or an Entire Subdivision" are located on 17.5 acres of land between the Belt Parkway and Aqueduct Racetrack and range from 300 square feet to 75,000 square feet.
The lots can be purchased separately or in groups according the auctioneer's website www.maltzauctions.com. The auctioneer noted that there is a potential for 75-plus two-family homes.
The lots are zoned R-4, which allows for detached, semi-detached, and attached housing including row houses and multiple-unit buildings.
The terms and conditions of the sale state that the properties will be sold free and clear of all monetary liens and that closing must occur within 45 days of the auction. A $7,500 deposit per lot is also required to register to bid. Within 48 hours following the auction the successful bidder must remit a total of 16 percent of the high bid at auction (10 percent deposit plus 6 percent buyer's premium).
According to the auctioneer, the properties will first be offered for sale in bulk (all 64 lots), then as 22 individual offerings and finally as individual lots (landlocked properties will not be offered for sale individually). The properties will be sold under whichever scenario realizes the highest or best offer.
NYRA representatives said the Ozone Howard Little League field in Centerville will not be included in the sale.
"I am hopeful for, and working towards, a smooth and productive process for both the residents of Ozone Park and NYRA," said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. "I have been advocating for fairness to the residents who have lived near these properties for years and for doing what's best for the community,"
Richard Maltz, vice president of the Real Estate Auction Division of David R. Maltz & Co., Inc., said that homeowners seeking to put an offer on the vacant land could get "overbid protection" - whereby the first bid after the initial bid must exceed the initial bid by a certain amount (typically 3 percent to 10 percent, depending on the amount of the sale) - by calling him at (516) 349-7022 and putting in their bid prior to the auction.