Friday, 29 July 2011 00:00
(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilwoman Maria-Christina Poons and to the Manhasset Press for publication.)
Why is it that I feel disenfranchised that the town board is not representing the Manhasset community with respect to the change in the zoning issue?
I attended the meeting this past Wednesday and listened as the owner (person who has a purchase option on the property) of the property’s professional advisors outlined the necessity for additional parking spaces and why the zoning on the vacant lot should be changed.
Following is a summary of their position:
The property should be rezoned to allow for parking although they do not need any additional parking for the current center. They are allowed to add an additional 8,800 (approximate amount) of square feet of commercial space based on the current number of parking spaces. They currently have 128 spaces and only require 99 for the current commercial space; and, if an additional 8,000 of square feet were added they would only require 123 spaces. The reason for the request is so that they can make the parking lot flow better.
During the course of the evening it became increasingly clear that the community, especially the residents of Strathmore are not in favor of any existing change in the zoning. Most of the comments were well thought out and clearly offer valid points, which the board should be concerned with as follows:
The Gate already backs up quite a bit from Northern Boulevard towards Village Road. I personally have had to sit through two red lights in order to exit onto Northern Boulevard.
The traffic going east on Northern Boulevard sometimes backs up as a result of cars making right-hand turns onto The Gate.
A number of safety issues were brought up regarding crossing pedestrians and children riding bicycles.
There would be a decrease in value of properties in Strathmore (one person said he purchased #71 Rockcrest Road for $1.6 million in 2008 after researching the zoning of the vacant land).
There is no reason to change the zoning as it only benefits the owner of the shopping center.
It is quite evident from the above comments that adding additional parking spaces will only exacerbate the above problems.
After hearing all of the above arguments the board decided to adjourn the meeting until August 2 when it will be discussed again. I don’t understand what there is to discuss as it seems clear to me that the board has enough information to make an informed decision to vote against changing the zoning on the property to allow parking.
The board was quite vocal in questioning certain speakers when they did not agree with them; however, there was total silence when a speaker asked the board, “Would you like to live in a house next to the parking lot?”
Based on my read of the situation it appears that the board has already made up their mind to approve the change and are only looking for an opportune time to vote on it.
Robert C. Benz