In 2006, Harbor Homes had a brand new look after the affordable home complex was razed and rebuilt. So, given the site's complete overhaul, it may surprise some that Harbor Homes was recently rezoned to allow for high-rise modernization.
Passed into law on June 29, the zoning change had been pending approval from the Town of North Hempstead's Board of Trustee June 8 meeting. It will affect North Hempstead Housing Authority properties, including Harbor Homes.
According to Sean Rainey, executive director of North Hempstead Housing Authority, the change in zoning will enable the town to modernize the site's current old-fashioned row houses. What's more, the town can now increase the number of units and the height of these homes.
In addition, the zoning will allow for affordable senior housing to be built behind Harbor Homes, for which the town already has a proposal by a Lake Success developer, Whitney Capital Company.
According to Matt Cuomo, North Hempstead Housing Authority's chairman of the board, affordable senior housing means housing that is under current market rates compared to other types of rentals and is only geared for people age 62 or older. "The senior housing, if the proposal goes through, will be a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) property," Cuomo said.
The original Harbor Homes was first built more than 50 years ago. Row-housing was the style at the time, Cuomo noted, but the housing authority now recognizes that it can make better use of the property by increasing it by one floor, and expanding the number of units and its density. "This modernization will be better suited for seniors that currently live at Harbor Homes because the buildings will now include an elevator," Cuomo said. "The zoning change will also allow up to 55 additional units to be built."
But not everyone supports the proposal, especially when it comes to adding more housing behind Harbor Homes. "This is parkland, which is in Alvin Petrice Park, and most residents do not want this beautiful open space to be violated,"said Mindy Germain, executive director of Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington.
"I don't think that high-rise modernization is appropriate for this area because it is out of character with the other residential homes," said Port resident Myron Blumenfeld, who is also chairman emeritus of Residents. "In addition, by increasing the height and density of Harbor Homes in accordance with these new zoning laws, it will have a terrible impact on the community because of lack of transportation in the area."
Those who might be be directly affected by the rezoning say it's too soon to know what kind of impact the changes would have on the immediate community.
"The changes in zoning at Harbor Homes are too new to comment on at this time," Lynette Batts, executive director of Harbor Homes said.
Hearings for the proposal are not scheduled at this time, according to Rainey.