Port Washington Chamber of Commerce co-President Warren Schein called the Feb. 13 meeting of the chamber to order. All present introduced themselves. Schein welcomed back Bill Solomon of All Port Travel.
Schein welcomed two new members: Christopher Appoldt Photography at 21 North Bayles Avenue and Wachovia Bank and manager Eric Bartolomey at 19 Soundview Marketplace. Another Wachovia branch will soon open at 1029 Port Washington Blvd.
Schein thanked the volunteers who helped with the craft vendor mailing: Anne and Mike Arter, Brenda Garfield, Carl Lalena and Jerry Rudnick.
Schein thanked the volunteers who made phone calls to update the listings in the chamber's database: Laura Lough, George Martin, Emma McMahon and Catherine O'Neill.
Bobbie Polay said Try Port First has grown to 100 pages to accommodate all the businesses that wanted ads. Help is still needed to add new listings to the database. The database has gone to the consultant but changes can still be made.
Updating HarborFest, Schein said that volunteers are needed to help plan the various events as well as work during the day of HarborFest. The Kiwanis Club will be running the Friday night dinner this year. It will be very different from past years and will be more affordable. Polay said the Parent Resource Center has volunteered to run the Fun Park and Wendy Collett had volunteered to co-chair the Craft Fair with chamber co-president Richard Strautman. Anyone who can volunteer during HarborFest should see Mitch Schwartz who is coordinating all the volunteers.
PW Business Improvement District Executive Director Roy Smitheimer said a $200,000 grant from New York State was awarded to the BID and the Village of Manorhaven for seed money to do mixed-use planning and building renovations.
Eckert Drug Stores is being purchased by Rite Aid. Commerce Bank is looking at the property where the Revere Mobile Station was.
The BID is hoping the town will allow Port Washington's commercial areas to have an overlay planning district so that the business community can develop its own community vision. For example, mixed-use buildings are not currently allowed, but if they had an overlay planning district they could decide if they wanted mixed-use developments or not. A public meeting regarding the establishment of an overlay planning district on March 7 was held. Pollack said the difference would be that the community would have more control in planning its development and the town BZA would have less control. Developers could go directly to the overlay planning district with their plans rather than to the BZA.
Smitheimer said the town board has moved forward with an eminent domain purchase of the Trading Post property at the corner of Main Street and Jackson. They plan to make a metered parking lot with 12 to 20 spaces, depending on the condition of the house on the property.
The Visioning Steering Committee would like to have tier parking at the LIRR lot on South Bayles Avenue. They favor a plan for 450 - 500 parking spaces in a 2 1/2 tier facility that would be run by the Port Washington Parking District. In addition to providing extra parking for commuters, it would allow spaces in the current parking lots to be converted to shopper and employee parking. Smitheimer said such a facility could be built in four to five months, during which time there would be a disruption for commuters. Pollack said several options are being considered to alleviate the disruption including offering free parking and free shuttle service at Bar Beach.
Strautman said the chamber's executive board discussed the proposal for the Bradley Hotel and believe that the issues that have been raised can be worked out. He will go to the town board meeting (held Feb. 13) and would like to tell the board that the Chamber of Commerce would like to see this happen. He read a resolution to the chamber board:
"Be it resolved that the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce believes that the establishment of a local boutique hotel in the lower Main Street area will provide significant benefit to the whole town, including the following:
• Increased visitors to our restaurants and businesses
• Important economic development needed along this section of lower Main Street
• A convenient local place to stay for residents, businesses, boaters and their guests
• An attractive streetscape that will enhance the harbor area
• Increased job opportunities
• Increased business taxes paid from the business community
Furthermore, the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce is aware of the considerable debate on whether or not a hotel will impact traffic. We believe that should there be a negative impact on traffic, this impact would be small in comparison to the benefit of having a hotel along lower Main Street and would be less than the impact of some other type of business that could be built on the property. We believe that a small boutique hotel in this area of Port Washington is good for the local economy and good for the town as a whole."
The vote was 12 in favor and two opposed. The motion carried and Strautman read it at the Feb. 13 town board meeting tonight.
Bill Solomon of All Port Travel thanked everyone who sent him good wishes. He is the current president of the Port Washington/Manhasset Cancer Care. One of the organization's major fundraisers in town is The Red Stocking Revue for which they are currently soliciting ads for the journal. He said he can be reached at 883-0200 or for information you can contact www.cancercare.org.
Alice Melzer said the Port Washington Federal Credit Union is offering three scholarships of $500 for students who are enrolled in the Credit Union. Applications are available at the office at 157 Main Street.
Town Councilman Fred Pollack advised that there is talk about a proposal to tear down the block on Port Washington Boulevard from Chester's to the laundromat to build a car wash; and the $5 million Mill Pond project should start at the end of the summer.
Officer Tony Guzzello reminded everyone to clear the snow and ice from in front of their stores. Elaine Abramson urged everyone to use pet-friendly ice melters.
Edna Turner said the Twin Pines co-op is 35 years old this month. A reception is being planned.
Smitheimer said Craig Johnson won the special election for state Senator. On March 27, there will be another special election to fill Johnson's position on the Nassau County Legislature and to fill the State Assembly position of Tom DiNapoli who has been named the state Comptroller.