Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HUD files discrimination charges against no-pet co-op,0,1420908.story
HUD files discrimination charges against no-pet co-op
August 13, 2008

The owners and board of a Rockville Centre no-pet co-op building violated a disabled senior's rights when they tried to evict the dog she keeps for emotional support, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said in filing discrimination charges.

Mary Pasko, 90, who is diagnosed with depression and lives with her daughter in the co-op, said her toy poodle Coco gives her a reason to get up from bed and barks when she knows her owner needs something.

"I don't think I'd be around if it wasn't for her," said Pasko, who has arthritis, a spinal disorder and other illnesses. "She's like medicine for me. If I have her with me, I seem to feel better."

But the board at The Hartley House sued to evict the dog, said HUD and daughter Joan Anzelone. She filed a complaint and board members responded that Coco was "simply a companion pet" because there was no proof the dog helps Pasko's depression.

"We're not unfeeling about this," said board member Paul Verbesey. "The question is 'Are there other alternatives?'" Co-op owners could not be reached yesterday, and Verbesey said the board has not discussed HUD's charge.

Three years ago, the co-op approved the pet of a live-in caretaker coming to tend a dying resident.

In Pasko's case, Verbesey said Coco was supposed to be there only temporarily and residents have complained after moving there specifically because of the no-pets rule.

HUD said it charged the owners and board with discrimination because The Fair Housing Act calls for "reasonable accommodation" on no-pet policies for people with physical and mental disabilities, once a doctor's note is provided, which Pasko had from a psychologist. The case will be heard by an administrative law judge or in federal court.

Pam Walsh, HUD's director of the Office of Policy, Legislative Initiatives and Outreach, said housing discrimination cases involving animals are not uncommon but she's seeing more involving people with emotional disabilities. "I would not call them pets," Walsh said. "These are assistant animals."

Pasko moved in with Anzelone seven years ago and left Coco with a daughter in Pennsylvania. Owner and dog traveled for visits, until the other daughter died two years ago and Coco came back to Pasko. The family was unsuccessful looking for a new home and could not find anyone to take Coco.

"Without Coco, I am very depressed, sad and always crying," Pasko said. "I will never, never give her up."

Mary Pasko with Coco at home in Rockville Centre. (Newsday Photo / Thomas A. Ferrara / August 13, 2008)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Selling excess solar power back to Con Ed

Great idea for condo & co-op buildings to do.

The New York Sun
Construction Company To Sell Excess Solar Power Back To Con Ed
By Associated Press
August 12, 2008

THORNWOOD — A New York construction company has become the first Consolidated Edison business customer to use a system under which excess power generated by its solar panels can be sold back to the utility.

The chief executive officer of C.W. Brown Inc., Renee Brown, says the "net metering" system conserves energy while saving the company money.

After the company uses whatever it needs of its own solar energy, any surplus is forwarded to Con Ed, which credits the company's account. If a cloudy day means the company comes up short on solar energy, it uses Con Ed power and draws down its account.

The switch was thrown Monday at Brown headquarters in Thornwood.

Some residential customers already use net metering.

Moinian digs geothermal pump for co-op

I've blogged on this in the past, but here's another relevant green article.

New York magazine
It’s a Green Gusher!
What are they drilling for on the Upper East Side?
* By Susan Burton
* Published Aug 10, 2008

Wells are things in fables or rural areas—and, now, the Upper East Side. The red drilling rig on East 67th Street is digging developer Joseph Moinian a 1,500-foot-deep geothermal well to heat and cool the triplex at 655 Park Avenue he’s renovating with his wife, Nazee. The drilling started July 18 and should take about a month, irking the neighbors the whole time. (“They did the best they could, but it doesn’t really get rid of the noise,” said the manager of a doctor’s office next to the rig.)

Approximately 100 permits for geothermal wells have been requested in Manhattan over the past eight years, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, and about 35 wells are in use, including at Diane Von Furstenberg’s HQ, the General Theological Seminary, and a Chelsea apartment building. Ivan Pollack, one of the Moinians’ engineers, says that installing geothermal in Manhattan costs about $150,000 more than central air but pays for itself in seven or eight years. “It’s the next big frontier for the superrich,” he says. “Who’s going to be greener?” Still, the Moinians are going green for a more practical reason: 655’s co-op board members didn’t want a noisy new HVAC system disturbing their courtyard.