Two days before Thanksgiving my neighbors and I were informed during a public hearing that our neighborhood in Port Washington was a "slum." Seriously. That word was used during a public hearing by a Board Member of the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington (RFMBPW). It was her attempt, I imagine, to justify their proposed redevelopment of 5 blocks of Main Street into new 3-story, 45' high, mixed-use (apartments above retail/parking/commercial) block-sized buildings. So now I find myself writing about this proposal which comes up for a Town of North Hempstead Board vote this Tuesday, December 11 instead of preparing for the holidays, or blogging about gardening, or even more tellingly, concentrating on my stressful day job. This proposal is probably one of the best kept secrets in town, in part because it has been advertised as a beautification or visioning effort and not called what it is, which is a rezoning and redevelopment proposal. But because I love my town and my neighborhood, no matter what names it is called, I have been spending my time doing what the town should be doing and getting the word out about the public hearing.
Those of us who question the densification of Main Street have been called another name, naysayers, by the RFMBPW (do you sense a trend?). However let's be clear - we do not oppose the beautification of Main Street. Please, full steam ahead on that part of the proposal. I have suggested that a business mix analysis be done in order to target businesses that would succeed on our Main Street. The BID should lead the beautification and business attraction as a combined effort. And please add a residential community member as a liaison to ensure ongoing dialogue. Rezoning is not necessary for beautification or business attraction. If it were, then what about the other blocks that are not part of the proposed overlay district? Are we not beautifying and assisting those blocks? Will those be rezoned later? I continue to ask as I have for over a year - what are the real goals of the proposal?