Friday, November 23, 2007

North Hempstead Grants Extension on Glenwood Landing Waterfront Rezoning

Manhasset, November 20—At a Town Board meeting held tonight, the North Hempstead Town Board voted to extend for one year a zoning change from industrial to multi-family residential on property located on the Glenwood Landing Waterfront south of the Glenwood Landing Power Station.

The vote was six to one in favor of the extension, with Councilman Fred Pollack dissenting. Before voting against the extension, Councilman Pollack said that he thought the zoning change represented bad public policy for waterfront property.

Before voting in favor of the extension, Supervisor Jon Kaiman said that no alternative use for the property had been proposed and that the threat to public health and marine water quality from contamination at the site was substantial.

The zoning change was triggered by an application from Glen Harbor Partners to build a condominium apartment building on the site. Glen Harbor Partners would clean up the contamination as part of the project.

The Town Board originally granted the zoning change on November 14, 2006, with the stipulation that the site be cleaned up and ground broken within one year. That vote was five to two in favor of the change, with Councilmen Fred Pollack and Wayne Wink dissenting. Mr. Wink, who was elected to the county legislature last year, no longer sits on the town board.

Several alternatives suggested

Because the site is located directly on Hempstead Harbor and because the Town of North Hempstead already owns a portion of the property, the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association formally proposed that the town purchase the privately owned portion of the site under the town's Environmental Legacy Fund. The Coalition for Hempstead Harbor proposed the site for acquisition under another public funding mechanism: the Nassau County environmental bond. That application included a letter of support from the Civic Association. The site has not been included on the TNH or county acquisition lists.

At several standing-room-only hearings, many residents expressed the desire for the site to be reclaimed and managed as public open space. There was general concensus from residents that nothing should be done with the property until funds could be found for such acqusition. A few residents also suggested that the the possibility of active industrial use was preferable to the proposed multi-family residential plan.

Another suggestion was the creation of a special intermunicipal district to manage the site. Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said he would be willing to discuss the idea if the Town of North Hempstead took the lead since the property is within North Hempstead.

Many residents from the TNH and TOB portions of Glenwood Landing, as well as from surrounding communities, said they would be willing to pay to clean up and maintain the site as open space.

The Civic Association and others also suggested that a waterfront zone created by the Town of North Hemptead a few years ago might be a more appropriate classification for the site. Although the code specifies that the zone is for larger parcels, the Civic Association is unaware of any practical or legal reason that would preclude applying the waterfront zone to the Glenwood Landing site.

Contamination concerns

According to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the contamination at the site is contained and does not represent an immediate threat to public health or to marine water quality.

Water testing data at the Glenwood Landing outfall (located between Powerhouse Park and the Power Station) suggest that the most significant threat to water quality in Hempstead Harbor is so-called nonpoint source pollution (contaminated stormwater runoff, including bacteria).

Thoroughness of EIS debated

The Town Board considered the zoning change after accepting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by the applicant at the direction of the town. At a hearing held in connection with the EIS, the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association, Town of Oyster Bay, and Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor stated that the document was inadequate and requested that North Hempstead reject it.

The Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, an inter-municipal organization made up of the of municipalities surrounding Hempstead Harbor, also suggested areas where the EIS could be strengthened.

Next steps

The plan that Glen Harbor Partner proposes requires several variances, including one to permit a four-story building. At a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing last year, the ZBA indicated that a variance for four stories would be unprecedented and suggested that the applicant present a different plan. Glen Harbor Partners submitted documents this past October. A December hearing is antiticpated.

The town line runs through Glenwood Landing. The vast majority of Glenwood Landing residents live on the Oyster Bay side. The North Hempstead portion of Glenwood Landing is not contiguous with any other unincorporated area in the North Hempstead.

At the Tuesday hearing, the town confirmed that the site is being used to receive materials destined for the Roslyn viaduct reconstruction. A resident requested information on the amount of money that is being paid for this use and the names of the recipients. She suggested that these funds be designated to help the town acquire the privately owned parcel and to clean up the site.

Statement concerning the extension of the change in zone made by the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association:

Since the summary of agenda item 31 contains virtually no identifying information, I arrive tonight guessing that resolution you are considering for action pertains to the rezoning of the waterfront property in Glenwood Landing on which Glen Harbor Partners proposes construction of a condominium apartment building.

Last year when the board granted the zoning change, the board wisely made the change contingent upon the site being cleaned up and ground broken within a year.

As I hope you will recall, on more than one occasion, this room was packed with people opposed to the rezone and on at least two occasions the room remained packed for many hours while people waited for the item to be called.

I must tell you that in the last year community interest in the project—and opposition to it, at least in its present form—has not waned.

Considering the interest that the people in Glenwood Landing and surrounding communities have shown in the matter, I would think that the town would recognize that the public is entitled to both better notice that action is contemplated and to be heard.

I therefore ask that you postpone voting on this resolution and that you schedule an opportunity for the community to comment on the pros and cons of an extension. On the other hand, if you voted tonight against the extension, you would make many people in Glenwood Landing and the surrounding community happy.

I also would like to thank Glen Harbor Partners for providing the civic association with the most recent plan submitted to the ZBA. I am, however, disappointed to note that the plan seems to differ little from the previous one and does not appear to have been substantively revised based on the ZBA’s comments.

I also have the impression that over the last year discussions have occurred between the town and the applicant. I am disappointed that in that time there has been virtually no outreach to the community. The civic associations would very much like to sit down together with the applicant and representatives of the town to discuss various elements of the plan and how at least some community concerns might be mitigated.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Zoning Change on Glenwood Landing Waterfront Up For Extension

On Tuesday, November 20, the North Hempstead Town Board is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would extend a zoning change from industrial to multi-family residential on waterfront property south of the Glenwood Landing Power Station.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. Call TNH at 869-7646 to confirm. The zoning change would permit construction of an apartment building by Glen Harbor Parters. The project includes land that once housed Harbor Fuel as well as a town-owned parcel.

The zoning change was originally granted November 14, 2006, with the stipulation that the site had to be cleaned up and ground broken within a year.

A portion of the property has recently been used for delivery of materials destined for the Roslyn viaduct project.

Please attend the board meeting to to support the following:
• the community is entitled to notice that an extension is being considered;
• the community is entitled to be heard on the matter;
• action should NOT be taken until a public hearing on the extension has been conducted.

If you cannot attend the hearing, please contact Supervisor Jon Kaiman (869-7700) and Councilpersons Robert Troiano (869-7799), Thomas Dwyer (869-7696), Angelo Ferrara (869-7716), Lee R. Seeman (869-7692), Fred Pollack (869-7698). Email addresses and FAX numbers are posted on the TNH website (

Glen Harbor Partners has submitted revised plans to the Zoning Board of Appeals. A December ZBA hearing on the variance application is anticipated. It will be important for as many people as possible to attend.