Scott Howell of the Nassau Planning Commission, who according to Neal Lewis of the Nassau Master Plan Task Force attended every meeting of the Task Force, addressed the members of the Task Force at their Jan. 28 meeting in the Hofstra University Club to update them on the status of the passed Comprehensive Master Plan before the Task Force disbanded at the end of the evening. The Task Force has decided that now that the plan has been approved their attention is needed on two new projects, so they have now become the Nassau Environmental Trust Fund Coalition and the Nassau HUB Citizens Advisory Committee.
Howell stated that the Planning Commission "incorporated most of the substantive comments from the public hearings" and they did their "best to include public input" into the passed version of the plan. He acknowledged the work of the Task Force and residents throughout the County, and added that the plan would not have been possible without the contributions of the residents of the County.
There is $300,000 set aside for 1999 for plan implementation, according to Howell. The County is now going to the legislators within the County, "Nicolello primarily," and are working to get them "on board" with their plans, he said. A consultant will likely be hired to help them develop strategies for implementation. Other funding alternatives and specifics of how many consultants will be brought in for what have "all been mapped out yet," according to Howell.
Many members of the Task Force were extremely concerned about the issue of open space and asked how the Planning Commission can be contacted on this matter. Neal Lewis explained that the new Nassau Environmental Trust Fund Coalition will be working with the County "when the dust settles." Members suggested that a web site or special e-mail address be created by the Planning Commission, where residents with concerns could contact them and make them aware of specific sites that they believe need to be protected by the County.
Howell added that the County has an open space plan now, but it is currently more "reactive" than "proactive" and he is hoping to develop a new way of keeping track of sites and determining their needs. He says that a committee that includes the public is needed, and it was suggested that the Task Force's new environmental project could help work toward this goal.
It was also asked if parcels within the Hub could be preserved to avoid the overdevelopment of the area. Howell explained that the Coliseum land is owned by the County, but much of the land in question is privately owned. He said the owners of each parcel would have to be identified and then negotiations for the use of the land would have to take place. He also explained that before any development planned for the Hub could take place, the County would have to work with the Town of Hempstead, which controls the zoning of the area. The Nassau Hub Citizens Advisory Committee will be specifically studying the Hub issue.
It was noted that the Comprehensive Plan now states in Section IV - Transportation, Policy Recommendation IV.5, 4, "The County, Town of and Village of Hempstead, and other decision makers should ensure that any new transit service proposed or planned for the Hub area be coordinated with existing transportation services and be connected to the intermodal center in the Village of Hempstead." This recommendation echoes a suggestion made by New York State Senator Kemp Hannon of Garden City during an interview with Garden City Life prior to the November election, that should the County be set on their plans for a monorail, they should to connect it to the Hempstead facility, rather than constructing one in Carle Place, as was originally the plan, or in Mineola, as was suggested by North Hempstead Councilwoman Doreen Banks.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of either or both of the two new Task Force groups should contact Neal Lewis at 90 Pennsylvania Avenue, Massapequa, NY 11758, or by calling 541-4321.