Readers Write: Port voices must speak loudly on town redevelopment plan

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The Mitchell Farms Neighborhood Association would like to update the public on the progress of the proposed zoning code for the Waterfront Business District and the ongoing moratorium.

 At the meeting on June 18, the North Hempstead Town Board extended the moratorium to Oct. 1, 2019 and heard comments on the latest version of the proposed code (continued to the July 9 meeting). The Mitchell Farms Neighborhood Association endorses many of the changes that have been proposed, and we appreciate Councilwoman De Giorgio’s effort to incorporate the concerns expressed by the local community regarding possible overdevelopment.

These changes include the removal of mixed-use residential from the code, the reduction of building height to 2 stories/35 feet, the addition of 10-foot front and rear setbacks, and the removal of underground parking due to flooding issues.

 We are concerned that the code still allows for a hotel/boatel with up to 35 units per acre. This means, if the properties are combined, a 105-unit hotel with a large catering facility and a sprawling terrace may be built with a special-use application.

Such large developments in the center of our waterfront will put undue burden on already congested lower Main Street, and will negatively impact the Port Washington community as a whole.

 We support a master plan for the Port Washington waterfront which showcases our rich maritime heritage, supports a Main Street mix of small shops, respects the quality of life for the neighbors, and provides meaningful access to the waterfront for visitors. 

 The local community has asked the Town Board to obtain a new survey to determine if the Town owns any land in the WBD, so that such land may be protected for public access and optimized for public use. We expect to hear back on the feasibility of a survey at the July 9 Town Board meeting.

We have also asked that a panel be formed, consisting of representatives from community groups, civic leaders, private business owners, and Town officials, to gather together to discuss what will benefit both the community and the development projects.

 We urge all Port Washington residents to stay informed about the issues at hand, and to make their views known to Councilwoman De Giorgio (degiorgiod@northhempsteadny.gov) and Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth (BosworthJ@northhempsteadny.gov).

 It is often said that “we get the world we deserve,” but the stakes are much higher than that. Our children and their children, and who knows how many generations beyond, get that world as well.

If we act in haste now, or out of expediency, we may ruin the Waterfront Business District for generations to come.

Lori Rothstein

Heinz Jufer

On behalf of the Mitchell Farms Neighborhood Association

portwashingtonmfna@gmail.org

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