At the meeting on Sept. 23, the Port Washington Police District’s (PWPD) announced they would be selling the home they purchased on 4 Derby Rd.
The home sold for $780,000 in March, and is directly in back of the existing police district parking lot. At their Aug. 10 meeting, the PWPD proposed conceptual plans, which included demolishing the home and replacing it with more than 20 parking spaces. Many of the residents on Derby Road were angered and shocked at the conceptual plans, citing their concerns for how a parking lot in the middle of the block might affect the property values, and the homeowners day-to-day lives.
During the Sept. 23 meeting, Police Commissioner Tom Rice made a formal announcement to the residents regarding the home.
“During the past few months we have been working with the neighborhood on Derby to find a direction of the purchase of 4 Derby,” Rice said. “As you all know that the three of us did vote for this, we had a public hearing and we listened to the people who wanted to speak that night. After the meeting, the building committee spoke and we had set up a meeting with the architects to discuss moving forward. We are in receipt of a letter sent out to the Port Washington Police Department on behalf of the residents from Meyer and Suozzi. In my belief, this covenant has no bearing on the property purchased at 4 Derby. 4 Derby is free and clear of all covenants. There was a title search done and the property states that. The purchase of the property was done only under good intentions of the district and not to create a burden on the residents of Derby.”
The three commissioners then unanimously voted to approve the motion, 3-0 during the meeting.
“We listened to the homeowners of the neighborhood, they are our constituents,” Rice said. “We didn’t do this to create a burden for the residents. We did this because we felt we had an opportunity to move forward.”
As previously reported, the district has been in dire need of a new building for the last several years but no plans have ever come to fruition. The number of police officers in the district has grown substantially throughout the years. The small building is now holding nearly 100 employees, including 65 police officers.
The Port Washington Police District is hoping to come up with other plans which might be feasible for their property.
“We are going back to the drawing board,” Rice said. “The architects are going to get back to us in a month or two. We are trying to move forward. We have to build a new building. We listened to [the residents] about 4 Derby and now we are going to move forward.”
More than 12 residents were in attendance during the meeting and were thrilled to hear of the PWPD’s decision to sell the property.
“It was [definitely] a turn of events that no one saw coming,” resident James Marotta said. “I was stunned. We all started clapping.”
“We are thrilled that the PWPD heard our concerns and made the right decision to put the property back into residential use,” the neighbors wrote in a joint statement to The Port Washington News. “This is not the only positive outcome—our neighborhood is now bonded together over this experience, and we have learned the power of demanding transparency and accountability from the officials we have elected. We urge Port Washington residents to never be complacent and fight for what you believe in.”