We at Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington support the concept of a hotel in Port Washington and acknowledge that the need for a hotel was mentioned frequently by participants in the visioning sessions and by our surveyed members. We recognize that the Shared Vision Plan stressed the importance of the Lower Main Street area to our community, requesting that it be made more pedestrian-friendly, stressing the need for more public access to the waterfront, reconnecting the surrounding residential neighborhoods and businesses to the waterfront with a well-planned mix of open space and water-related development. The community was also concerned about the high level of traffic congestion at Main Street and Shore Road, and the inherent dangers to both vehicles and pedestrians.
It is in this context that we address the current hotel proposal. First, we acknowledge that a hotel may produce less impact on traffic compared to certain other types of development on the site, due to the varying times that hotel guests will arrive and depart. However, the conference space, with numerous attendees arriving around the same time for meetings could cause significant traffic congestion on Main Street. Many of these attendees will be making left turns into the hotel entrance across a traffic flow that now builds up from the Shore Road intersection all the way to Louie's. Pedestrian crossings at this location will become increasingly difficult. It is a sad note that the first proposal being addressed by Shared Visioning highlights the lack of attention to the visioning process by an impacted village and its developers. The Village of Baxter Estates has already approved the proposal for a three-story apartment house at the corner of Main Street and Shore Road, which will bring additional traffic, with insufficient parking spaces. This additional traffic will add to the traffic flow being evaluated for the proposed hotel. No attention to the prospective additional traffic and parking needs arising from the hotel was given by the village in its consideration of the apartment building proposal. Similarly, no attention to the prospective additional traffic and parking needs arising from the apartment building proposal was addressed by the hotel developers and their traffic expert in their considerations.
If Visioning is to have any meaning in the planning efforts for Port Washington, there must be an area-wide consideration of traffic, parking and density impacts of a development proposal. Thus, we would propose that an independent supplemental traffic study be prepared that would address the hotel's impact on traffic from the proposed hotel/conference center up to and including the Main Street / Shore Road intersection and down to the Stop sign near Louie's, as well as evaluating the impact from the Baxter Estates apartment building. In addition, this supplemental traffic study should address the impacts from the hotel proposal both with and without the first floor conference room facilities. While we welcome the five new trees proposed for Main Street, we are concerned for their future viability, especially with pedestrian flow on the planned 6-foot sidewalk adjacent to the hotel's guest tables and chairs under the overhang.
We are also concerned with the on-site flow of traffic for the unloading/loading of passengers, services and deliveries, and parking. The traffic flow is difficult and constricted because of the single traffic lane. This will be further stressed with the departure of attendees for the conference room facility and/or the hotel. We are also concerned that the available on-site parking is not adequate for the realistic needs of the hotel and conference center. Another area of concern is the exhaust fumes from vehicles using the underground garage. These fumes must be properly disposed of, so as not to adversely impact the surrounding neighborhood.
Residents is also concerned with the size of the building, and believes it is out of character with the surrounding structures. The hotel has three stories, with a roof functioning as a fourth story, with 52 proposed rooms, a conference center, and lounge. The overall structure seems very large for the site and the surrounding area, which consists of small homes and smaller-scale businesses. The hotel proposal requires many zoning variances, and will add significantly to the density, traffic and parking problems in the lower Main Street area. We recognize the positive aspects of a hotel in our community, but are concerned that the current proposal presents too many traffic, parking, density issues to be approved in its present form. We strongly suggest that these issues be addressed before final approval is granted. We thank the developers for their cooperation in meeting with our organization and being extremely open to suggestions from the public. The Town of North Hempstead should be applauded for following the visioning process by sponsoring this public forum.
For further information, please contact Residents at 767-9151, e-mail, visit our website at www.pwresidents.org.
Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington