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Zoning Federal Ruling Is Wrong

This submission by Garden City attorney Thomas F. Liotti is a response to the “Judge Finds Garden City Un-Fair” article that ran in the Dec. 11-17 issue of Garden City Life.

The recent federal ruling holding that the Village of Garden City intentionally discriminated against minorities because it would not agree to have low income housing there is wrong. Home Rule allows Garden City to control its own zoning. Like many other communities, Garden City is de facto segregated not because of racial discrimination but due to economic circumstances.

There is another long-standing problem. The Department of Social Services Building, the site of this controversy, has been abandoned for years. Its 27-acre building and parking areas are desperately needed for our courts which are in complete disrepair and inadequate. All other counties in the State have modernized their courts. Only Nassau lags far behind. Eventually the Courts will have to be expanded in the Mineola/Garden City area. The Family Court and District Court should both move there. County Seat Drive should be developed to allow for underground and tiered parking. All of this could be done without disturbing the ambiance of surrounding residential property owners or depleting their property values. If this is not done, then we will indeed have intolerable congestion. Any plan for the development of that area must preserve the residential character of the community.

A careful view of Garden City shows that it already has a great number of apartments and more could be built due north behind the shopping areas on the West side of Franklin Avenue but then again why not in Hempstead? It makes more sense to upgrade Hempstead than it does to downgrade Garden City.

It is wrong for federal courts to usurp the Home Rule powers of Garden City and force that community to accept low income housing under the guise of the Fair Housing Act. This ruling has the potential to destroy the pristine, first planned community in the United States – Garden City. Garden City welcomes anyone who can afford to live there. The same would be true of Park Avenue in New York City; Beverly Hills, California or Palm Beach, Florida.

When Roosevelt Field was developed 60 years ago it pulled all of the great stores such as Abraham & Strauss, Arnold Constable and Browning King Fifth Avenue out of Hempstead. Hempstead’s tax base was undermined and “white flight” ensued. Do we want the same thing to happen to Garden City? Force feeding a local community with low income housing is a huge mistake. Social engineering at the expense of homeowners is simply unfair.

Thomas F. Liotti is an attorney in Garden City, village justice in Westbury and former chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the Nassau Bar Association.

News

Budget adjustments, staff reductions recommended

The Garden City Board of Education will prepare to adopt next year’s school budget in a couple of weeks. Before they do, they’ll have to go over a few changes.

At the board’s public work session held at the high school on Wednesday, April 9, school superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen recommended a few adjustments, part of the annual balancing act that is the school budget.

The Garden City Board of Trustees approved a $55,791,023 operating budget at its April 7 meeting by a 7-0 vote (Trustee Theresa Trouvé was absent).

The spending plan requires a tax rate increase of 3.73 percent or an increase in tax of $224 to the average assessed single family home.


Sports

Lady Panthers

start season 7-0

The number two ranked Adelphi Panthers Women’s Lacrosse team has gotten off to a fast start to their 2014 season and show no signs of slowing down. Head Coach Rob Grella, entering his third season at the helm, has led his team to an impressive 7-0 record to kick off their campaign. Six of the Panther’s first seven games have been won in commanding fashion in which they have outscored the opposition by a staggering margin of 122-14.

Last season, the Panthers continued their tradition of playing hard and fighting off tough challenges. They would finish the 2013 season with an impressive 11-1 record within the Northeast Ten Conference and overall at 18-3, making it to their fourth consecutive trip to the NE-10 Conference Championship where they eventually lost to Le Moyne.

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This year three hunts will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: In Transition 2.0

Thursday, April 17

School Budget Meeting

Wednesday, April 23

Judi Mark One-woman Show At Library

Thursday, April 24



Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com