The third and last open forum of the Shared Visioning project was held on March 31. The general subject for this one was development. This focused on the downtown/commercial corridors, housing and redevelopment/land use. Again, the forum was well attended, with some people noting that high school students participated in the discussions, much to their delight.
For residents unable to attend the meeting, the town is taking comments and suggestions via email at www.northhempstead.com, the official website of the visioning project, or by calling April Brown Lake at 627-4062.
The project now moved into the next phase, at which the major concerns of the residents were presented, followed by walking tours and roundtable discussions, held from April 14 through April 18. (This will be reported in an upcoming article.)
However, at the March 31 forum, the town again provided some interesting and thought provoking information, which led to some lively discussions. Some highlights from the data provided follows:
* There are four main commercial corridors in Port: Port Blvd., Main St., Shore Rd. and Manorhaven Blvd.
* These contain approximately 1,200 businesses, ranging from small local beauty shops to large national chain grocery stores.
* The Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District (GPWBID) was established by the town in 1995 to improve the "economic and business health of the Greater Port Washington area."
* In 2000, there were 10,708 housing units on the Port Washington peninsula, with an occupancy rate of 97.6.
* The majority of the occupied housing units, 66 percent, were owner-occupied and 34 percent were rented.
* There was an increase in the number of both single and multi-unit housing on the Port peninsula between 1999 and 2000. However, the overall number of housing units on the Port peninsula increased less than one percent between 1990 and 2000.
* Lack of reasonably-priced housing options is a problem that faces all of Long Island including the Port peninsula.
* Over one-quarter of renters on the peninsula paid over 35 percent of their income on housing.
* The median rent on the peninsula was $1,315 in 2000 and over 70 percent of renter-occupied housing units rented for over $1,000.
* The median home value in Port Washington in 2000 was $439,700 which is more than twice the national average.
* Currently, the median listing price of a house is $695,000, a 17 percent increase from three years ago.
* Currently, the average listing price of a house is $930,784.
* Housing prices have become so high that young professionals and senior citizens have trouble finding a home they can afford.
* While there has been an increase in the available senior housing, there is still very little workforce/transitional housing for young professionals.
* Any development likely on the Port peninsula will be redevelopment of existing properties.
* With the limited space available on the peninsula for new development or open space, it is vital to take an inventory of existing parcels that might be redeveloped or converted to open space.
* Redeveloping properties can increase the local tax base, create jobs and reduce pressure to develop the remaining open space on the peninsula.
* The power to set or change a zone lies with the village board of trustees or town board of each municipality.
* Each municipality has a zoning board of appeals to which any property owner can apply for relief from the restrictions established by the zoning legislation.
The following is a summary of issues/concerns/suggestions discussed at the Shared Vision: Port Washington Peninsula Development Open Forum and emails received after the forum. There were three main topic areas discussed at the Open Forum: Downtowns/Commercial Corridors, Housing, and Redevelopment. Issues and concerns raised are summarized within each topic area by common themes. Many groups made suggestions to address the issues and concerns and these are listed in the summary. Finally some groups offered suggestions for possible walking tours during this week's Design Event Weekend, which are listed in the summary as well.
* Concern about the empty stores.
* Concerns about children hanging out.
* Create an Architectural Review Board.
* Give Main Street more character.
* Area opposite from the dock - needs renewal.
* On Dock - need signage not to feed birds.
* Applaud efforts to put water play area in Blumenfeld Family Park.
* Redesign Landmark Park to be more kid and family friendly and open schools at night for teenagers' activities.
* Port Boulevard.
* Make building façades more inviting.
* Shore Road.
* Clean up Sheets Creek.
* Improve waterfront walk.
* Decrease to three lanes.
* Remove small island opposite Stop & Shop.
* Preserve open space on Shore Rd. to curb traffic problem.
* Manorhaven Boulevard.
* Need for all new storefronts and signage.
* Improve traffic flow.
* Create more left turning lanes.
* Coordinate traffic lights.
* Traffic flow - urban planning needed.
* Stagger closing times of schools.
* Increase enforcement of speeding laws for commercial vehicles.
* Make downtowns more pedestrian friendly.
* Increase traffic calming.
* Increase use of crosswalks.
* Increase use of crossing guards.
* Increase bike trails.
* Increase pedestrian crossings.
* Increase use of pavers for pedestrian crosswalks.
* Need for more walking space in front of stores.
* Encourage development of promenades.
* There is a need for sidewalks on Middleneck Road.
* Right of way to school buses 7:40 a.m to 8:05 a.m.
* Reorganize parking behind stores.
* Create easier access to stores - one strip with access to many stores.
* Beautify rear entrances of shops similar to Wheatley.
* Concern about the cleanliness of the downtowns.
* Downtown sidewalks are dirty and broken - there is a need for better code enforcement to make owners responsible for sidewalk maintenance.
* Offer incentives to property owners to make property improvements.
* Concern about garbage being placed at the curb before the scheduled placement times.
* Need for more frequent trash pickup.
* Need for better enforcement of litter laws.
* Business owners and landlords need to maintain the fronts of their businesses better.
* Need for cleaner streetscapes.
* Concern about the pigeon droppings.
* Standardize aesthetic requirements.
* Two-story limit.
* Commercial areas - one unified look.
* Stores are non-uniform in appearance - not attractive.
* Encourage uniform architectural design.
* Enforce sign codes - offer award for excellent signs.
* Building facelifts / grants for improvement.
* Consider tiered parking.
* Consider creating a parking garage at the railroad station with stores on the ground level.
* Consider creating an underground parking lot.
* Reorganize parking behind stores.
* Extend time on parking meters.
* Consider offering free parking because parking meters discourage parking for shopping.
* Enhance parking and reorganize existing lots to create maximum use.
* Create unloading zones during low shopping times (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.) in front of train station
* There is not adequate parking to accommodate shoppers in downtowns.
* There should be a public buyout of all parking lots behind stores - to make one large public parking lot.
* There is not adequate parking for commuters.
* Increased use of public transportation.
* Create a shuttle bus (environmental friendly) service.
* Create a Jitney service.
* Consider alternate zoning in downtowns.
* Mixed-use zoning (especially along Main Street).
* Explore implementation of overlay zoning/planning district.
* Revitalize downtowns, attract retailers, and retain businesses.
* Encourage use by residents.
* Create a stronger Business Improvement District.
* Encourage business tax abatement.
* Offer tax subsidies for small community landlords in order to attract renting businesses.
* Abolish unnecessary tax-supported business organizations.
* Concern over the high turnover of some stores and restaurants.
* It is very expensive to do business in Port Washington.
* Create sense of history in downtowns.
* Preserve old historic buildings.
* Need a better variety of stores.
* Need women's shop.
* Support locally-owned businesses.
* Support landlords for local businesses.
* Fewer franchises; Stop more "Stop & Shops."
* Abundance of available shops - not enough local shopping.
* Need more local shops that can thrive.
* Losing mom and pop stores to Stop & Shops and high rents.
* Get rid of nonconforming uses on West Shore Road i.e. Tilcon and Buchanan Marine.
* Applaud efforts to make Bar Beach and Hempstead Harbor one park.
* Applaud efforts of Nassau County to refurbish Stannards Brook Nature Preserve.
* Dredge water around Manhasset Isle to entice boat marinas.
* There is a need for a hotel or bed & breakfast.
* Control development.
* Controlled development can maintain greenfields.
* Research what other towns are doing - to help improve the downtowns.
* Technology incubators.
* There is a lack of affordable housing for service workers, young professionals and the elderly.
* Encourage mixed use because it can increase affordable housing availability.
* Create affordable housing along the commercial corridors including Port Washington Boulevard., Main Street, Manorhaven Blvd., and Shore Road.
* Create more rental units for low and middle income residents.
* Set aside percentage of housing for low income housing.
* Property taxes are very high for homeowners.
* Offset homeowner taxes by bringing in new businesses to increase the tax base.
* Utilize Town-owned land for affordable housing.
* Offer incentives to increase affordable housing availability.
* Require any new development to reserve 10-20 percent of new housing as affordable.
* Require developers to give back housing for subsidy in order to build.
* Need housing with tax abatements for low and middle income housing.
* Offer affordable housing government incentives.
* Offer incentives to encourage home ownership by lower and middle income residents.
* Develop a program to allow a percentage of rents to go toward home ownership.
* Concern that ownership housing is not available for low and middle income residents.
* Develop more homes that allow individuals to rent with the option to own.
* New housing increases pressure on traffic, schools, water, sewers.
* The town is overpopulated already.
* Conduct a peninsula impact study to determine the impact of any new housing.
* Any new housing (rental) should be on Main Street - where mass transit is most accessible.
* Put any new housing development on hold until after the impact of new housing developments already planned can be assessed.
* Decrease allowable housing density.
* Limit development of underutilized areas.
* Limit development in certain areas (Manorhaven).
* Address residential zoning laws.
* Review zoning rules because they are too varied.
* Create zoning laws that require new housing to conform to the context of neighboring housing.
* New housing should not exceed current footprint of the lot - no huge houses on small lots.
* Maintain quality housing.
* Property sizes are often too small for homes - beginning to look like Queens - some new developments are too dense.
* Need for architectural/cosmetic design standards.
* Lack of consistent design in many neighborhoods.
* Inconsistent building standards.
* Concern about increase in subdivisions.
* Concern about illegal housing.
* Develop process for builders and municipalities to plan together.
* Develop overall plan to determine location of affordable housing.
* Create more open communication among local governments on zoning issues as related to open space.
* Need for a better relationship and communication between the various ethnic and economic groups on the Peninsula.
* Incorporate the Town of Port Washington.
* Interest in redevelopment of existing properties.
* How will the Thompson Industries and Typhin Steel properties be redeveloped?
* Buy Thompson Industries site - no land swapping.
* Do not develop the eight acres in Port Washington North.
* Town Dock and Inspiration Wharf need to be redeveloped.
* Demand for open space and recreational uses.
* Enclose Manorhaven Pool.
* Build a bowling alley.
* There is a need for open space preservation.
* Create a hobby park at Hempstead Harbor Park.
* Protect underdeveloped land.
* The town should buy back land that is currently available to preserve it as open space.
* Discuss planning of 250 acres of open space owned by the County.
* Create a recreation center.
* Re-examine use of Manorhaven Park and adjacent land.
* Create dog runs.
* The waterfronts and parks are not what they could be.
* Beautify the Bandshell.
* Need for more activities for children and teenagers.
* There is nothing for our teenagers to do.
* Need for central gathering place for children with better lighting, seating areas.
* Need for planned after school events.
* Use land for children's activities.
* Assess impact of any redevelopment on the infrastructure of the peninsula.
* Prevent overuse of natural resources e.g. water.
* Prevent crowding in schools.
* Prevent traffic jams.
* Attract what is good for Port Washington.
* Conduct survey to determine what the needs and interests of residents are.
* Assisted living.
* Catalog inventory of three types of property/development.
* Encourage mixed-use development.
* Encourage grayfield redevelopment to increase the tax base.
* Why build new facilities when there are older buildings that are empty?
* Invest money in old/abandoned/deteriorating buildings.
* Clean up brownfields.
* Create industrial area across from Bar Beach.
* Do not turn marinas into housing - need public access to waterfront.
* Moratorium on building.
* Stop the building with new zoning.
* Stop selling marina/waterfront property to developers.
* One government for the whole peninsula.
* There is a lack of coordination and consistency between the villages and the town.
* Whole community should have a say in what happens vis-à-vis zoning
* Address zoning laws.
* Change zoning to accommodate businesses cautiously.
* Town should coordinate zoning rather than the individual villages.
* There is a need for more restrictive zoning.
* Strengthen and enforce zoning.
* Need for more consistent zoning between the villages and the town.
* Consider creating an umbrella zoning organization over the villages and the town.
* Developers should be encouraged to contribute to improvement of public areas.
* Need for a better monitoring of the residential - commercial mix on the peninsula.
* Keep Main Street clean.
* Shore Road - Sheets Creek - clean up.
* General and recurring cleanup plus enforcement.
* Underground parking/safety - meters discouraging business.
* More attractive designs/design control for storefronts.
* Step up BID activity to help small businesses.
* Review/coordinate zoning.
* Coordinate planning for development.
* Better control of density.
* Cooperation among villages.
* Plan housing for service workers, young, elderly.
* Any multi-unit development must include affordable housing units.
* Consider changing empty commercial property on Main Street into attractively designed affordable housing.
* Restrict residential lot subdivision.
* Restrict commercial to residential conversions.
* Preserve all open space.
* Create a pedestrian friendly environment.
* Taxes on commercial/residential far beyond the appropriate sustainable limit.
* Do not trade local community owned businesses for corporate America.
* Tax relief for small businesses.
* Create regulated affordable housing.
* Consistent architectural storefront design.
* Lower Main Street consistent business plan.
* Small business grants.
* Permit us to zone just our unincorporated areas - Huntington just did.
* Implement overlay planning district.
* Operate Jitney Service AM/PM.
* Minimal levels of appearance standards should be imposed on vacant or undeveloped commercial properties.
* Develop tiered parking with designated tiers for short, medium, and long term parking.
* Open Manorhaven Park year round.
* Conduct speed enforcement for commercial vehicles.
* Implement traffic calming measures.
* Encourage 2nd/3rd floor development as co-ops over commercial properties i.e. Manorhaven Blvd.
* Port Washington is unique in that it grew naturally starting in the 1600s. We'd like to maintain Port's Character.
* We have a small town feel with a lively Main Street and beautiful shoreline.
* Develop Master Plan based on inventory of available property.
* More efficient zoning.
* Offer incentives to builders to create affordable housing in exchange for developer contribution to improvement of public spaces.
* Set aside 10 percent of new development to affordable housing.
* Encourage affordable housing and rentals.
* Offer Ownership Assistance.
* Tax abatements for middle income.
* Invite community involvement in overall design plan.
* Develop maritime aesthetic for town.
* Create attractive streetscapes.
* Utilize the Main Street Grant Program to implement streetscape improvement projects.
* Need for consistent zoning on Main Street - uniformity in signage and architecture.
* Stricter code enforcement and streamlined ability to implement.
* Take better advantage of waterfront areas, parks.
* Umbrella zoning policy needed.
* Recreational use of formerly commercial space.
* Need comprehensive planning for the dock area.
* Too much traffic.
* Not enough parks.
* Hempstead Harbor Park
* Harbor Road to Shore Road
* Shore Road from Main Street to Manorhaven Blvd
* Shore Road - behind beer and soda store
* Lower Main Street - near Town Dock
* Train station
* From Weber Middle School to the Post Office and down Main Street to the Town Dock to Manorhaven
* Main Street from the Post Office to Inspiration Wharf
* Manorhaven Park to Gino's
* Landmark to Lower Main Street
* Beacon Hill Rd. down to Hempstead Harbor Beach
* Manhasset Isle
* Shore Road from Main Street to Manorhaven Beach Park
* Shore Road and Manorhaven Blvd.
* Manorhaven Blvd. from Manorhaven Park to Shore Road
* All of Main Street
* Industrial areas (Channel Drive/ Stark Carpet)