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Sandy Hollow Associates, the developers of the proposed Mill Pond Acres senior housing project for Dallas Realty's 41 acres in Port Washington North, has modified its original proposal for the site. Saying that the changes were made as a result of homeowners' comments and suggestions made in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement presented at a public meeting held Dec. 11, Sandy Hollow made several concessions.

At the meeting, local residents complained about the density of the proposal. Sandy Hollow responded by cutting the number of units from 327 to 250, a 24 percent reduction.

They point out that the unit reduction will have a corresponding 24 percent reduction in traffic, which was another major concern expressed by local citizens at the December public meeting.

In terms of traffic issues, the developers note that an even further traffic reduction will be made possible by the housing community's chauffeured jitney service from Port North to Port Washington's central business district. Sandy Hollow Associates guarantee that the jitney service will be instituted.

Complaints made at the December meeting about insufficient buffer zones between property owners whose homes and businesses are adjacent to the proposed development were also addressed. The revised proposal contains an increase to 50 feet of the property's buffer between the senior housing and the neighboring properties.

Preservation of open space was also a concern brought up to the developers by residents. In the revised proposal, Sandy Hollow Associates will dedicate eight acres to the village, which represents 20 percent of the property, and preserve 19.7 acres of additional space, which leaves a total of 27.7 acres of open area. The original proposal had 58 percent of the parcel as open space. It's about 69 percent in the latest one.

Also, in line with the open space issue, a major dollar contribution from Sandy Hollow Associates to the village open space recreation and park fund will help the village move forward with its waterfront park and bay walk, which it is in the process of developing. The funds will assist in the purchase of additional waterfront parkland.

Finally, the concerns about the senior community's ability to enforce the age requirement, which states that at least one resident has to be 62 years of age, and that no school-age children can reside in the condos was dealt with. The developers claim that these restrictions can be enforced by zoning law and the by-laws registered with the State Attorney General's office in the condominium-offering plan.

Since the meeting in December, the developers submitted the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), at a meeting held Feb. 11: the FEIS includes the revisions noted above. This is part of the SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) process. The purpose of the meeting was to determine whether the Port North Board of Trustees would accept, or not accept, the FEIS. The four board members present voted unanimously to accept the statement; Trustee Charles Ratkoski was absent.

As part of the SEQRA process, the FEIS will now be circulated among board members and the community for their written comments. Three copies are available at the Port Washington Public Library and a copy is available for review at the Village of Port Washington North Village Hall.

The board has also now voted to hold a special meeting for the purpose of reviewing the findings of fact of the FEIS on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jeanne Rimsky Theatre at Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main Street in Port. These findings come at the end of the SEQRA review and are recommendations on mitigating any adverse environmental impacts from the project. If they decide to accept the findings at that time, a public hearing will then immediately follow that special meeting to listen to comments from the public on the actual rezoning of the site from economic development to senior citizen district. Citizens can only observe the board during the portion of the meeting dedicated to accepting the findings. However, they can comment during the public hearing on the rezoning, if it takes place that night.

Village Attorney Steve Limmer pointed out that even if the board of trustees at the Feb. 28 meeting adopts the findings, they would not be voting on the rezoning that night. Before any legislation is passed by the village, the FEIS with written findings has to go to the Nassau County Planning Commission for comments and recommendations.

Subject to the village accepting the findings portion of the FEIS, it is expected that the board of trustees will vote on the rezoning of the property at their March 11 meeting.


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