"Our attempts to control the urbanization of our commmunity...", reads the latest mailing from the former Alliance Against the Ferry, its true mission, at last, revealed.
The Alliance has always been quite clear that they are a group that stands against things. Against the ferry, against traffic in Greenvale, against a hotel in Glen Cove, against intensification. Now they are gearing up to be against the re-use of the Keyspan property in the hopes of controlling "urbanization." More scare words meant to control the public.
Mind you, this "against" group is made up of some of the very same people that label alternative viewpoints as negative. They are, in fact, the people who have been in power for many years; former Sea Cliff mayors and trustees, board appointees, editors and committee members. They have controlled legislation, zoning codes, budgets and information, all in the service of "no more intensification of use." And they are still at it.
Now, however, that we are clear on what they stand against, the question becomes "what do they stand for?" The answer is simple. They stand for stagnation. And so I would propose another name change for them: the North Shore Stagnation Alliance.
Problem is, though, that change can't be stopped. Natural cycles dictate either growth or decay. One is generally doing one or the other. Look at Sea Cliff Avenue. Once the heart of a vibrant community, it is now lacking in life. Look at the population figures. 6,000 people in 1970. 5000 people in 1990. Look at the decline of the arts community, now making a valiant struggle to come back. Decay. It hurts the tax base, it hurts congregations, it hurts the arts, it hurts us.
Vitality is the other option. At the ceremony held to announce the very positive award to Sea Cliff of a $20,000 grant for harbor issues study, the town of Huntington was there to collect $45,000 for the initiation of a "smart growth" program. Smart growth, traditional neighborhood development and new urbanism are phrases used to describe a philosophy of community change that prioritizes vitality; in downtowns, pedestrian-friendly public space, dense and diverse neighborhoods and housing stock and mixed-use development.
See the web site at www.newvillageparty.org for how it could work in our town.
This is what Sea Cliff will be voting on March 20. Essential village life versus suburban sterility. Vitality versus stagnation. Which do you want?