Written by Caroline Laur Tuesday, 09 June 2009 16:42
Tempers flared and good manners were left in the parking lot on June 1. The Mayor and the Trustees of the Village of Flower Hill had their hands full with residents who wanted to be heard. Despite the efforts of the officials to maintain decorum and civility, the gavel of the mayor was rapped repeatedly in an attempt to restore order.
The storm in the room was caused by the continued concern of the residents regarding the Gold Coast Inn and the possibility that sex offenders and homeless families might be housed there. It was feared that the Inn would become a SRO and that the area residents, present in large numbers, would have no way of knowing that transients, who might be dangerous, were present in the neighborhood.
The audience was assured by Mayor Charles Weiss that the Inn has been removed as a housing choice on the list provided to the Nassau County Department of Social Services; the previous sex offender had moved; the violations observed in the parking lot had been or would be corrected; and that only six out of 54 rooms at the Inn were currently being used to house families in need. There is no way, Mayor Weiss explained, that a client could be denied a room. The manager, he further stated, was very sensitive to the fact that the Inn is in a residential area and he assured the mayor that he would be selective when renting rooms. However, he must abide by the laws of New York State regarding this matter.
Since the village has no authority in this area, the mayor continued, they would meet and discuss concerns with the management of the Inn, which they did. Letters were sent out on May 15 to all residents who attended last month’s meeting to advise them that the sex offender had relocated and that the “manager would be more vigilant in screening potential residents.” The letter also stated that “There were no registered sex offenders currently at the Inn and that the village was working closely with the Nassau County Police Department to assure the safety of the residents.”
The question arose regarding the establishment of a private village security force. Mayor Weiss reported that the matter had been researched and that it would be extremely expensive for the village to provide such a service. “A security service can only watch the area and notify the police if they suspect a crime is being committed,” he reported. It was suggested that residents become more observant and use 911 to do the alerting.
This portion of the evening was amicably concluded with the assurance by all the officials that further action and meetings would be taking place and that the residents would be notified of future developments.
The evening continued with the presentation by Greg Caronia, Director of the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management on hurricane preparedness. Mr. Caronia began by asking the audience, “Whose job is it to be prepared when a hurricane or major storm is forecast to hit the area? The answer is you!” he continued. “You cannot expect the government to help you for at least a week or more.”
In the event that a category 3 storm hits us, there will be no power, the roads will be blocked by fallen trees, the medical facilities will be overwhelmed, and there will not be enough shelters. We are fortunate in the Village of Flower Hill, the mayor pointed out, because a POD (point of distribution) has been established at Manhasset High School to provide supplies to residents.
This presentation was intended as a wake up call for area residents to consider volunteering as emergency responders and to make all aware of our own state of readiness.
We are due for a major storm, Mr. Caronia told the audience. It’s just a matter of time. Are you ready?