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A robust debate is expected at next week's Town of North Hempstead Council meeting regarding the proposed eminent domain takeover by the town of the property at 310 Main Street, the southwest corner of Jackson and Main, for a public metered parking lot which will create 10 to 15 new retail parking spots to service the lower Main Street area businesses.

With the intention of easing traffic congestion at the troublesome intersection of Main Street and Shore Road, the town wants to create a left-hand turn lane turning north down Shore Road, west of the intersection, and create a drive-through lane heading east on Main Street by eliminating the existing parking spots on the south side of Main Street where the curbside parking for the businesses along there currently exists.

The glitch for the merchants on the south side of the street, from the dental office, moving to Harbor Deli and then up the block to Bubba's Place, Painting With Flowers and Pomodoro's, is that these shops will have to give up the parking directly in front of their businesses. They argue that this will cut into their business because it's not as convenient as having the parking right in front of their shops. They say that they welcome any additional parking, but oppose the loss of valuable curbside parking for their establishments.

The merchants also argue that the left-turn lane proposal will not have that much of an impact on the traffic congestion. They cite a traffic study performed over the last few years which found that the major traffic backup occurs between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., when 80 percent of the cars turn left down Shore Road. Therefore, even if a third lane going east straight down Main Street is created, it will not mitigate the congestion that much.

The fact that the town is invoking the Eminent Domain Procedure Law to acquire the land for parking indicates that it believes that the project serves a public use, service or benefit for residents.

The proposal will be an agenda item at the town meeting Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who cannot attend the meeting can weigh in on it either by calling Councilman Fred Pollack at 869-7711 or emailing the councilman at Logo
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