Last week's lead story, "Property for Senior Housing at Morewood Sold" marks a significant milestone in the saga of the former sand mining property. Forty-two of the 465 acre "Morewood property" was sold to a developer, generating $26 million - plus worth which is to be used to reduce the amount of outstanding debt associated with the Morewood property. This is newsworthy and deserves the prominence that you gave it as the top story on your front page.
Equally newsworthy is providing a clear understanding of what this development will look like and what impact it will have on our community. There's a lot of room for improvement in that department. Beginning on page 10 of the same issue (and carried over to page 29) is an article describing a public forum set for 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 14 at the United Methodist Church on Middle Neck Road in Port Washington. Called by Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington and the General Council of Homeowner Associations, this forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. This meeting will provide the Port Washington community an opportunity to learn firsthand about the proposed development and to raise questions and concerns that we want addressed before construction begins. For example:
Q: What is being built?
A: A six-story 400 unit continuing care retirement community, which Newsday reports is expected to be priced similar to one in Stanford, CT that charges $255,000 for a one-bedroom unit and $615,000 for a two-bedroom unit. One hundred twenty-five condominium units in buildings up to six stories high, and 150 free standing and attached units. All must be occupied by at least one person over 55 years of age. There is nothing even remotely similar in Port Washington.
Q: Haven't there already been "several public hearings" as stated in the opening sentence of last week's lead story?
A: Most of the hearings were held in connection with the environmental review process and the rezoning of the entire Morewood property in which a general development concept was reviewed, not this specific housing project.
Q: Wasn't there "a complete site plan review" as stated in the opening sentence of last week's lead story?
A: I know of no public, housing project-specific site review hearing, in which size, shape, layout, amenities and cost were shown and publicly discussed.
The developer was quoted in Newsday as saying, "We want the community to understand our project and be very familiar with it."
"We want to hear the concerns of any of our neighbors and be as responsive as we can."
The May 14 forum at the United Methodist Church in Port Washington provides exactly that opportunity. I hope that the Port Washington News gives this forum, and the issues raised there, the same prominence that you gave the sale of the land to the developer. The Port Washington community deserves to be given information, and to have our questions answered before construction is begun.