At the virtual Town of North Hempstead (TONH) meeting held on Aug. 14, the board set a resolution date for a public hearing to consider the adoption to amend the local zoning code. The proposed local law will revise the standards of the “Waterfront Business” zoning district regarding permitted uses, building height, allowable density, setbacks and parking regulations in Port Washington.
Although this was not a public hearing, many residents in Port Washington raised concerns for what the changes in zoning code might do to the area.
Town Clerk, Wayne Wink read aloud a statement from Matthew Frankel, a Port Washington resident who had concerns regarding the amendment.
“Frankel has expressed concern about the fact that he recently moved to Prospect Avenue and learned about the proposed development. He bought his home in large measure because of the beautiful views he has of the bay. He is concerned about waterfront views, waterfront access, increased traffic, congestion and safety concerns. He opposes the development and stated the surrounding area will see a reduction of interest from home buyers if this were to go forward.”
Another resident reiterated similar sentiments regarding the proposal.
“I think the community has been vocal and vehemently opposes any redevelopment,” Kevin Mueller said. “This is a beautiful town and a beautiful waterfront and to put up condos or another Knickerbocker that is three-stories high is altering the beauty that we all moved to this town for. So I want you all to think about that if you were to continue approving any sort of redevelopment—this will massively change Port Washington.”
Several residents asked for an environmental impact study to be conducted, as well as a traffic study to see how future developments might affect the area. Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte stated that she has had several meetings over the past few months with the Steering Committee regarding this agenda item.
“We’re amending the code to make it very restrictive,” Dalimonte said. “There are a lot of residents on this committee. There are property owners on this committee. It’s been a give and take.”
Dalimonte stated that she would be meeting with the Steering Committee to discuss the concerns residents had reiterated during the meeting to see how the rest of the committee feels.
After hearing several more comments from residents, Supervisor Judi Bosworth reminded residents that this was not a public hearing, but merely a vote to hold a public hearing during their next meeting.
“There’s no question Port Washington is a very beautiful community and it is thought of as a waterfront community,” Bosworth said. “Of course that’s the goal is for it to be maintained as a waterfront community. This moratorium has been in place now for 2.5 years, which is from what I understand is unprecedented. Having the set date [for the public hearing] gives us the opportunity to hear what the proposed code is. Everyone will have the opportunity to talk about why they think it’s a good compromise or why they may not think it’s a good compromise, but [setting the date for the hearing] gives us the ability to have that public discussion.”
The board will be holding a public hearing regarding this item at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.