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Letter: Setting The Record Straight On Two Key Issues

I’d like to point out several inaccuracies in the Letter to the Editor published January 23 titled, “New Cassel: Still on the Path to Overcrowd the Westbury School District.”  Mr. Kirton first referred to the Grand Street School property near the “Yes We Can” Community

Center in Westbury.  It is important to note that the intended use of this property by the North Hempstead Housing Authority is for senior housing only, not affordable housing that would create a spike in enrollment in the Westbury School District as Mr. Kirton asserted. While working with the Housing Authority over the past several years regarding the redevelopment of this property, the concerns of the school district and residents have been at the forefront of our planning process.  I am pleased to move forward with the demolition of this dilapidated and abandoned building as I believe it will rid the community of an eyesore and a health and safety hazard. This plan will remain consistent with the original vision for New Cassel revitalization which includes providing affordable senior housing to the community.  


As for the New Cassel Urban Renewal Overlay District, that is an explicitly separate matter and has run through a crystal clear transparent process.  I hosted a community forum at the “Yes We Can” Community Center in May and fielded questions from residents regarding whether to modify or keep restrictions within the Overlay District. Guidelines for this district were approved in 2006 which included certain restrictions relating to standards for development.  The intent of the legislation which was considered by the Town

Board on Jan. 28 was not to ease the restrictions, but to instead ensure that the code is consistent and uniform throughout the Town of North Hempstead.   This does not in any way diminish the Town’s vigilance when it comes to identifying illegal housing.  


Mr. Kirton’s letter also suggests that code revisions allow for this community to “become a dumping ground for illegal housing” and that “affordable housing…overburdens the system”.  His statement assumes that all homeowners that are affected by this legislation are participating in illegal housing activity and that the affordable housing in New Cassel has caused a tremendous spike in enrollment when neither of these statements are factual. His assumption is an insult to the residents of New Cassel.   I can assure you that the

Town is committed to making sure that the achievements that have been made in this community will not be compromised. 


I welcome any resident who has a question on these issues or any other issues to call my Council office or meet with me in person.  


Viviana Russell


North Hempstead Town


Councilwoman, District 1