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'Tis the Season to Love our Town - Part 2

Of course they call it “Smart Growth,“ said my father to me as I spoke to him about the Main Street proposal. Did you expect them to call it “Dumb Growth?”

As a former city planner, I wince every time I hear the term Smart Growth used by the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington to justify their proposal for redeveloping parts of Upper and Lower Main Street.

Smart Growth is a planning concept developed in the early 1990’s in the state of Maryland (my childhood home) under the leadership of the Governor. In essence it was a deal between the State and the localities in Maryland’s quickly developing counties, whereby the State agreed to provide new roads and infrastructure, if the localities in turn would concentrate their new developments in those designated areas.

I haven’t seen any plans for new or improved roads or infrastructure in Port Washington. Have you? And the lack of transportation infrastructure is the core of my concern about the development proposal (yes, there is a LIRR train station, but it only connects us in one direction and is not really useful for running errands or picking up the kids from soccer).

I question the wisdom of densifying the areas around the most congested parts of the peninsula without adequate roads in and out.  Our intersections are failing with the current levels of traffic. If the Town of North Hempstead were serious about Smart Growth, it would be looking at underutilized areas closer to Northern Boulevard or I-495 to redevelop. Parts of Manhasset come to mind. There is even have a train station nearby.  But of course we can’t do that!  So let’s stop calling the proposal to redevelop Main Street in Port Washington, Smart Growth, and call it what it is – a bad idea.

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Local Resident December 09, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Yes, it is this kind of "fuzzy logic" employed by the ToNH and RFMBPW that has plagued this entire process. A similar example of this type of "fuzzy logic" would be: Mr. Kaiman's assertion that the rezoning of Main Street would NOT lead to higher building density, additional traffic or more parking problems because Main Street is already zoned for 3-story commercial. Really?
jonathan winant December 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM
If we have seen numerous meetings concerning the rezoning and the basic facts are not even looked into them there is more then just something wrong with the proposal and those propossing it! Plan and simple hiow will the proposal effect essential services? Will there have to be a rebuilding of sewers? What effect will this have on the allready crowded L.I.R.R. system? Fire dept. were they involved at any point? Garbage collection (private and Municiple)? WHERE ARE THE MUCH AWAITED ANSWERS FROM THOSE DEPARTMENTS NOT FROM JOhN (LIES TO US) Kaiman?
R Miller December 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM
I think we are missing the point here. Let's fix the building department in which it promotes construction of commercial and residential properties, not kill it by having to wait 6 plus months just for a permit. That is the real problem I see in the growth of this TONH area. Rezoning to me is a second day issue.
Local Resident December 10, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Rezoning should be a first day issue for all of us because it is for the ToNH and RFMBPW...they have been shoving it down our throats for a year, and their intention is to continue to shove it down our throats. Agreed, the building department is a major issue. Business Owners should not have to wait 6-9 months to do simple facade improvements...of course, few building owners are going to want to go through that process. But to be clear, we are not missing the point here....the ToNH and RFMBPW missed and continues to miss the point: Beautification of Main Street can occur without rezoning. Baltimore Design just improved his front facade, he waited months for a permit, but he did a great job and the building looks great. The day spa on the opposite corner just opened after significant renovations, it also looks great and didn't need to be rezoned. Dr. Weill's office looks great and has for years. The beautification and vibrancy of Main Street is an issue that does NOT require rezoning. However, the beautification of Main Street DOES require the property owners / business owners to show a some pride in their property and a little respect for the surrounding community.

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