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Opinion

I read with interest and delight on the front page of last week's Port Washington News that the recently completed Shared Vision Plan is now part of the Town of North Hempstead zoning law. This is indeed historic and welcome news to all the community members who devoted time and effort to this truly democratic effort. The acceptance into law of the Shared Vision Plan means that future planning will be shaped by the expressed needs and desires of the community, not formulated by planners without community input, as is traditional in most places. The acceptance into law of the Shared Vision Plan means that the people have spoken and their elected officials have listened and responded.

I add my commendation to the approval and applause earned by Supervisor Jon Kaiman, the town board, the Town Planning Department and all the elected officials who encouraged, supported and collaborated in the Shared Vision Process.

To bring together for the planning all the different groups who make up our peninsula, elected officials needed the assistance of many civic and neighborhood associations. They also recognized that the historic public/private partnership of the Shared Vision Process needed the services of community-wide organizations. Fortunately, Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington not only fit the description of "community-wide" but they also enthusiastically embraced the Process, along with the General Council of Homeowner Associations and the Port Washington Business Improvement District (BID). We are indebted to the boards and staffs of Residents, the General Council, the Bid and to every one of the hundreds of community members who gave their time and efforts to participate in the Shared Vision Process.

Unsung, but still vital to the Shared Vision Process and Plan, was the regional nonprofit group with whom I am most closely associated: Sustainable Long Island. Supervisor Kaiman acknowledged from the start that Sustainable Long Island had the experience and know-how to bring together all the so-called stakeholders or community residents who wanted to be part of this community visioning. Sustainable Long Island was paid by the town for part of its work; but most of the outreach and organizing was paid for with private dollars raised by Sustainable Long Island from foundations and other donors who value community input into the Shared Vision planning process.

After these unprecedented successes, community-wide participation in the planning process and the adoption of the community's Shared Vision Plan, the next step is implementation of the community's wishes. Sustainable Long Island is willing and able to assist in making Port Washington's Shared Vision Plan a reality. We hope to be called upon again and again, whenever needed. My advice to everybody concerned about the future of Port Washington is to continue working together and to stay interested, active and even vigilant, to ensure that your plans come into being. Congratulations, Port Washington.

Amy Hagedorn


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