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Opinion

Let me begin this letter by apologizing in advance to those residents of Port Washington who live outside of Sands Point. I can only imagine how tiresome the yammering exchanges in this letters page must be, and how petulant we all must seem.

Yet, ironically, although it seems very much like a civil war of the rich, the current battle about the traffic flow into and out of the Village Club has implications for the entire peninsula. Simply put, in order to create a more perfect golf course for a few duffers, the proposed Village plan creates a series of new traffic hazards, and opportunities for vehicular disaster, up and down Port Washington Boulevard.

Gene Luntey's rambling and disingenuous statements in the Feb. 17 edition of this newspaper fail to address these serious issues. Luntey, our deputy mayor, simultaneously whines and blusters, but beyond the posturing, he cannot muster a single factual statement in his defense. Indeed, the only specificity that Luntey can summon up - that had the Village Club not been created, 200 homes would have been constructed on the IBM property - is a complete falsehood. And he knows it. Prior to the Village acquiring the property, it had been up-zoned to a minimum of 5 acres. Since the property is 211 acres, and any subdivision would have required internal roads and other common areas, any development would have yielded a maximum number of new construction at less than 40 houses. A far cry from the minatory number of 200 bruited about by the deputy mayor.

This shameless exaggeration, emblematic of Luntey's proclivity to distort the facts with a carefree, if not joyous disregard of the truth, is why otherwise litigation - shy residents - myself included - have been forced to turn to the judicial system to hold the trustees accountable for their misrepresentations and improper actions.

Luntey bemoans the fact that as an unpaid public official he is subject to the relentless scrutiny of residents. Tough. If he can't stand the heat, as Mr. Truman put it, let him swiftly leave the kitchen, otherwise, he is as accountable as any elected official. While the deputy mayor would like you to believe that only a few "special interests" are opposing his dangerous traffic plan, the plain fact is that a broad swath of the community - residents of Sands Point, Port North, as well as the fire department and the school district - have all expressed grave doubts about putting the needs of a few golfers over those of the greater community.

Simply repeating the platitude that the trustees will do "what's best for the village" merely reminds us of the genteel thuggishness that characterizes the behavior of the trustees. The village is now in the midst of the second. massively expensive SEQRA process in less than a year, only because the initial review did not include the latest changes to the traffic pattern - the changes that have the Village Club's neighbors up in arms. A business that planned so poorly, and squandered funds with such profligacy, would put management out to pasture. Not a bad thought in a village with plenty of open space.

Adam Hanft


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