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Port Washington Has Seen Many Changes Over Time

There have been numerous changes around town some of which are very significant and others are just reminders of times long ago. Remember the most important changes and why they happened?

There have been numerous changes in Port Washington over the years, some might be considered significant and others just the progression of time. Favorite restaurants leave town as do a favorite store. Laws and regulations change along with various types of town codes.  

Recently the talk has been focused on the rezoning of Main Street, which would be a significant change in town codes. This boogles my mind because somewhere in time the building codes differed from what they are today. Buildings were allowed to exceed current height restrictions and obviously there were codes allowing mixed use buildings. Does anyone know when and why the codes were changed to exclude these regulations which some are fighting to have restored?

A long-time resident of Port Washington recently informed me of another long forgoten code, which has to do with cleaning in front of your business. Obviously if this code is still on the books, it is not one which is enforced. Did the code suddenly change? Look around – it seems as if it did! What happened to the code which mandates dog owners clean up after their dog poop? Looks like this code or law is out the window. 

It's sad to say that some residents and politicians strongly believe the answer to many of Port Washington's problems is to rezone parts of upper and lower Main Street. I truly do not think so, and from what I have read there are many who feel the very same way as I do.

Why not focuse on the probems which can be immediately corrected and will help make Port Washington more appealing to new residents and new businesses? Some business owners have already taken the initiative. I applaud those who have spent considerable amount of money and time to improve how their business looks to others. Old Port Antiques and Baltimore Interior Designs are two good examples.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jonathan winant December 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM
When someone finds out just how the Town Of N. Hempstead functions let the readers in on it.
Local Resident December 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
It is important to understant the differences between Zoning Laws and Building Codes, they are not the same thing. Building Codes control issues relating to life safety: occupancy, egress, fire ratings, type and methods of construction, etc. Zoning Laws are at the local level and determine property use, density, building height, etc. These are not the life safety issues that are covered by Building Codes. The reason there are existing, mixed-used 4-story buildings along Main Street is that Zoning Laws at one point did NOT exist. Generally speaking, Building Codes have been in existence much longer than Zoning Laws. The current non-conforming buildings were built BEFORE zoning laws, it is not that they were built illegally, but at one point a Owner could effectively build whatever he wanted. Then the Town decided to limit what an Owner could build and to limit the uses of certain properties. Some properties were zoned residential and others were zoned commercial and some were zoned for mixed-use. Main Street was zoned to allow for ground floor commercial with 2 floors of commercial above. An owner could also build senior housing on Main Street. With the new rezoning legislation, an Owner can adhere to the current zoning OR he can apply for mixed-use and build ground floor commercial with 2 floors of residential above. No code is being restored. The zoning is changing to allow an Owner the option on what uses to develop their properties for.
Local Resident December 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
There is no market for additional commercial / retail along Main Street and there is obviously little use for true "senior housing". If there was a market for such uses, the properties along Main Street would have already been developed up to 3-stories. The current zoning has been in effect for decades and no Owner chose to develop for the maximum allowable use. What the new rezoning legislation does is allow an Owner to develop a property, or properties, for 3-story mixed use (ground floor commercial with residential above). For an Owner, this is a much more attractive use for the property along Main Street as it allows him to economize space that he couldn't economize before. The rezoning proposal is a designed to benefit the select property owners..THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITY. PERIOD.
Local Resident December 18, 2012 at 03:15 PM
How the ToNH functions has been made amazingly clear over the past year and especially during the two Town Hearings related to rezoning. Special Interests Conflict-of-Interests Back Room Dealings Pay For Play Plum appointments to elected town positions Etc, etc, etc.

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