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Letter: Thanks…And No Thanks!

My thanks to the Executive Director of the North Hempstead Housing Authority for his response to my recent Letter to the Editor of this paper.  He clearly outlined that the Grand Street School site development plan proposal is new housing for seniors and not for families.  His statement puts forth the first official accounting to the public-at-large of the development and goes far beyond my factual information from what was reported in the land swap article “Petrus Park on Path to Reopen” in the December 22, 2013 of the Port Washington News If the proposal survives revision, is approved as stated, and is affordable for New Cassel seniors as the only occupants, then this affordable housing will have more value than the affordable housing that was built along New Cassel’s Prospect Ave.


Speaking of value, politicians sour at the mention of corrupt but my use of “corrupt behavior” was not intended to identify anyone for persecution or prosecution.  My usage context pertained to behavior that leads to diminishing/corrupting the value of the original intent.  In this case intent being affordable housing developments or code restrictions.  Critical thinking and impulse control are crucial when educating students for their future roles in society but they are also key components for adults when addressing issues.  Our public interests pertaining to welfare and wellness are tied to our children of the Westbury School District (WSD) and the WSD is overpopulated beyond its intended enrollment limits.  Thanks must go to Dr. Mary Lagnado, Superintendent of the WSD (and to the trustees present), for speaking factually at the Town Board public hearing in the interest of nearly 4990 students in opposition to the easing of restrictions aimed at deterring illegal housing in the New Cassel Urban Renewal Overlay District (NCUROD).  The data presented correlated with my own facts.    


The two variables most attributable to the WSD infrastructure crisis are high property taxes and enrollment due to increased availability of housing.  Although the land swap that resulted in the senior only affordable housing proposal (if approved) will not contribute to WSD student enrollment, any PILOT or senior exemption will increase the amount of taxes to those that do not have the benefit of the offset.  The burden of higher property taxes will not be well received by the public towards approving a bond to build more school rooms and buildings to reduce class size which benefits learning and the teacher to student ratio.  In addition, illegal housing does not negate the mandate to enroll and educate the children of these dwellings.  These dwellings are not assessed for the number of occupancy units per lot.  If code enforcement was more effective in deterring illegal occupancy, or, the dwelling’s use and assessment reflective of the true multi-family usage, then enrollment growth and unfair distribution of the tax levy would not be due to illegal dwelling occupancy. 


New Cassel affordable housing and housing restrictions are indeed two separate voting matters.  Viviana Russell (a resident with property interests within the NCUROD) as a Town Board member, has to critically think matters through and realize that the issues are interrelated.  Her impulse reaction to meet the needs of a few special interests will only result in injury to the WSD and to the residents of New Cassel.  The weight of my opinion does not bring insult to the people of New Cassel, especially since my statements neither suggests nor makes the assumptions that Russell is attempting to corrupt them into.  


No thanks Viviana: preferable to you possibly requesting (again) at the next public hearing on April 1 for the Town Board to reserve decision (to deliberate and vote behind closed doors), instead consider withdrawing your proposal to take a position with the WSD

Board (supported by its President Rodney Caines and Trustee Siela Bynoe of the CDA and NHHA) against an easement of restrictions that is place to deter illegal housing.


Larry Kirton