I was very disappointed with the lack of insight demonstrated by both Mayor Bral and VHB of Hauppauge, with respect to their Feb. 5 presentation to revitalize our downtown business corridors (10-year plan).
While their opening premise sounded smart, “Middle Neck Road has not achieved its potential,” what soon followed was an insult to every intelligent man and woman.
No wonder there was a constant onslaught of booing. The booing became especially fierce as the lead presenter declared zero environmental impact to a checklist which included, but was not limited to: traffic and parking, noise, air quality, water resources, soil, ecology and more.
Who’s kidding who?
Having resided in the village of Great Neck for over 20 years, my family has always been happy with the upscale suburban environment combined with easy access to the LIRR, Northern Boulevard and area hospitals.
These benefits will be dramatically altered with the proposed plan. VHB consultants and Bral are recommending a 17 percent increase in population (1,700+ additional residents based on 10,000 residents), five-story housing on both Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road, as well as the relaxation of parking restrictions to allow for this increased population density.
These plans are in addition to the recent sub-divisions that allow developers to split a single parcel of land into two. These plans are a dangerous assault — not only to the Village — but to the overall community, as well. Wake-up and smell the coffee — mayors and trustees in neighboring villages. Your residents, your roads will be negatively impacted. I take offense to the following features:
- There are nine villages in Great Neck. All villages use Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road as main arteries to access the LIRR, Northern Boulevard, hospitals and major highways. Currently, each village is free to create and implement a master plan without coordination or permission of the neighboring villages.
- VHB is recommending the addition of 16 new buildings on Middle Neck Road and seven new buildings on East Shore Road. What about the additional buildings planned by the other Great Neck villages on these same corridors?
- The daily traffic (after 3 p.m.) on both Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road is already severely backed up, much talked about and negatively impacting area residents. Great Neckers, like all Long Islanders, love their cars and many families own several cars per household. This is not New York City with a heavy infrastructure of subways, buses and taxis. With that said, little thought has been given to the current and future traffic on our main corridors.
- Population density. According to Google search: Great Neck Plaza is the 11th most densely populated village in the United States. Is this what Bral envisions for the village of Great Neck with his multiple clusters of five-story buildings and the relaxation of parking restrictions?
- The population of Great Neck increased by slightly more than 300 residents (3 percent) since 2010. The 17 percent increase (Bral envisions) in the next 10 years would greatly harm our current infrastructure and suburban quality of life.
- We moved to Great Neck for the quality of life. Great Neck was never intended to be trendy, hip Brooklyn. If the mayor and board want nightlife and bright lights, maybe their families should consider relocating, rather than decimate a community that is beloved by many residents who feel connected to it from generation to generation.
- The VHB presentation acknowledges 84 additional students for public schools. That number is severely understated based on a 1,700 population increase in the next 10 years. Currently, the Great Neck public schools are maxed out in terms of students per class size and available classrooms. Is the VHB plan intended to destroy our excellent public school ratings?
What is true is the fact that the village of Great Neck government acted in isolation on a major overhaul that will have a chain reaction to neighboring villages. They also failed to weigh in with local fire department, police department, public school administration, post office, and other entities.
Great Neck Plaza and Great Neck Estates will be impacted according to the former chief of the Vigilant Fire Company. Those mayors and trustees must be included in the planning process if residents are to believe there is a benefit to the community. Thus far, the only clear benefits and incentives are those to the developers.
Are you surprised?
Please attend the Public Hearing on Feb. 19 at Village Hall.