More than 100 attend revitalization hearing for Middle Neck Road

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Sabine Margolis, a Thomaston resident, was one of several residents who attended and spoke at a town hall about revitalization for Middle Neck Road on Monday night. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Sabine Margolis, a Thomaston resident, was one of several residents who attended and spoke at a town hall about revitalization for Middle Neck Road on Monday night. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

More than 100 people flooded Great Neck House for a town hall meeting on the revitalization of Middle Neck Road on Monday night, calling for a cooperative and more holistic approach to bringing business back to the Village of Great Neck.

The meeting brought out many village residents, as well as people from neighboring municipalities and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who underscored the importance of community involvement and shared examples of Long Island communities successfully revitalizing.

“There is no one size fits all application to revitalization,” Curran said.

Both Curran and Great Neck Village Mayor Pedram Bral said they hoped to see positive suggestions from residents on what they would like to see in the village.

More than 30 people signed up to speak, according to cards submitted to village Clerk-Treasurer Joe Gill, with about 10 being able to speak before time ran out.

Many people expressed concern about how the previously proposed zoning changes could have adversely affected services by increasing development and density, as well as perceived shortcomings of a draft environmental impact statement suggesting there would be little adverse impact.

Others also said there should be increased cooperation between villages and entities for a more comprehensive plan since changes to Middle Neck Road could ripple throughout the Great Neck peninsula.

“This is a peninsula problem,” Great Neck resident Andrea Katz said.

Sabine Margolis, a Thomaston resident, called on Great Neck village to work on fostering e-business, creating a business incubator, and said that right now, there’s no place for her to get basic things like clothes and shoes.

She also called on the mayor to officially retract the draft impact environmental statement, putting a sign down on the table in front of him.

“We cannot outsource our problem solving,” Margolis said.

David Zielenziger, a Great Neck resident, said infrastructure strength was not looked at properly and that a study by VHB, the village’s consultant on revitalization, presumed the village operated in a vacuum.

He called for a more coordinated approach and said if the village is interested in getting affordable housing, it should consider creating a more robust housing agency for low-cost housing.

“There’s no reason we couldn’t do it,” Zielenziger said, citing the village’s reserves and overall fiscal health.

Sam Yellis, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee that sought to solicit community feedback on revitalization, said the village needs a homemade ice cream shop, a farmer’s market, and possibly an arcade to help make Great Neck destination.

He also said the village should invest in an electric shuttle bus and help from various levels of government and blasted a loss of affordable housing units, particularly in developments like Millbrook Court.

Bral said officials will try to have more meetings on revitalization.

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