Reading the stories reported by Renata Maimone about Bayville this past year, we have gotten a bad case of village envy.
A village has the power to control what happens in a way an unicorporated village doesn't. There is a feeling of powerlessness for residents when they don't have a mayor or town officials they can talk to.
That is why this newspaper was delighted to see the formation of the Oyster Bay Civic Association. For example, several years ago residents were surprised to see the little group of stores that appeared on Lexington Avenue. It was an allowed use and there was no need for a hearing.
If the village had a civic association at that time, the town would have notified the board of the new strip mall. It wouldn't have been a surprise and possibly the residents might have had some relevant comments about it.
Its appearance at that time was when stores were just going empty. The town might have been stronger today, if those stores had located in town instead of out of town/out of sight.
Additionally, a village can have an architectural review commission but the Town of Oyster Bay has said it can't have one for Oyster Bay because they would have to make laws for the entire township and not just one village.
Poor little unincorporated us.
Watching the past year as Bayville became involved with the campaign with Cooking Light magazine - we realized it could only happen in a village like Bayville. Things can happen in a village that just don't in a town as big as Oyster Bay with no local focus. It's just too big and too distant.
Just look at the new kiosk at the Village Commons. And, look at Bayville's Village Commons itself. It provides parking wanted by the local businesses and a park setting for residents. It's really a good use of the land.
Oyster Bay has been talking about a kiosk for years and it never happens. There were supposed to be trees in the alleyway between Townsend Square and Bay Cleaners. There was a parking plan for the lot behind Town Hall.
Bayville has two beaches just for residents and they have an ice skating rink in the winter.
The list goes on.
This is a backward way to say "Congratulations to Bayville," but it's the truth.
Residents of Bayville are in an enviable position with responsible leaders who are local residents and so there is more accountability and a greater understanding about what residents want.
This might seem like an editorial for incorporation of Oyster Bay and actually that is part of the story. When Republican leader Russell Sprague developed the plan for the Nassau County Board of Supervisors one of the bricks of that construction was that no village formed after 1938 would have zoning powers. That is what stops local unincorporated villages from becoming incorporated.
We believe the recent ruling by Judge Arthur Spatts that created the Nassau County Legislature should be applied to zoning powers for villages for the same reasons, lack of representation.
If you start reading about Bayville you too may start to become envious and want home rule too! It's called Village Envy!