Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Glenwood Fire Company Opens Window on the Past

For a rare glimpse of Glenwood Landing and Glen Head's past, visit the Glenwood Fire Company Website. The description of the fire company’s founding in 1907 through its 90th anniversary, opens a compelling window on the area’s history.

You’ll learn about the Fyfe Shipyard, a major maritime center on Shore Road for nearly a century, the great fire at Wenlo, one of the region’s most stunning mansions (which firefighters saved and was recently placed on the national and state registers of historic places), and much more.

And, an added bonus, the Website is an excellent resource for fire safety information

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Civic Spot Adds Link to GW-GH Garbage District

Sometimes it seems easier to learn about what's happening on the other side of the planet than about what's happening down the block. That's why we recently were delighted to stumble across a weblog maintained by the Glenwood-Glen Head Garbage District and have added a link to the site from the Civic Spot.

All of the neighborhoods served by he Glenwood-Glen Head Garbage District are in the Town of Oyster Bay. That includes most of the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association's target area (the neighborhood between Kissam Lane and Scudders to the north and south, and Glen Cove Avenue and Shore Road to the east and west), except for the southwest portion of Glenwood Landing (which is in the Town of North Hempstead).

The district's weblog is handy for checking up on practical information that it's easy to forget, such as collection days, weight limits, and the fall leaf collection and holiday schedules. You can also read some interesting facts and figures that you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, such as how and when the district was formed, the number of households in the district, and district boundaries.

We hope the district will continue to maintain the site and look forward to using it to learn more about important district-related matters—especially the budget, election, and names and terms of the commissioners.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Protecting Environmental Bond Recommendations

The Nassau County Planning Commission is reviewing the Environmental Bond Act recommendations made by the Environmental Program Advisory Committee on March 6. County legislators will vote on the recommendations sometime in May. If approved, the projects will be funded by the $50 million environmental bond referendum voters passed in 2004 by a margin of more than 4 to 1.

The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association urges the Planning Commission and the Nassau County Legislature to accept the Advisory Committee’s recommendations without alteration. We believe the application and review process was painstaking, fair and objective. We believe that altering the recommendations made by the committee would undermine public confidence in the legislature and in the environmental program that voters intended to support.

The Advisory Committee received 262 proposals and recommended 57 projects. All of these projects represent valuable improvements that will benefit everyone who lives, works, or plays in Nassau County. The list includes 15 parcels for open space acquisition, improvements at 18 parks, 17 stormwater improvement projects, and 7 brownfield clean-up projects.

One of the parcels recommended for open space acquisition is on the Glenwood Landing Waterfront; five others are in the immediate vicinity of Hempstead Harbor (see "GWL Waterfront Scores as County Priority," March 10). The remaining 51 projects are well dispersed throughout the county, from east to west and north to south. The civic association supports each and every one of these recommendations with full confidence in the criteria that the Advisory Committee established to evaluate the applications and in the judgments the Advisory Committee made based on these criteria.

Please consider contacting county legislators and the Planning Commission to express your views on this matter (see below). A press release titled Suozzi Advisory Committee Announces Proposed Uses for $50 Million Environmental Bond and the Environmental Program Advisory Committee Report are posted on the Nassau County Website.

The public servants below can be reached at 1 West Street, Mineola, NY 11501; legislators can be emailed directly from the Legislator Page of the Nassau County Website.

Patricia Bourne, Director, Nassau County Planning Commission (516-571-5847)
Lewis Yevoli, Chairman, Nassau County Planning Commission (516-571-5844)
Legislator Craig Johnson, LD 11, including Glenwood Landing (516-571-6211)
Legislator Diane Yatauro, LD 18, including Glen Head (516-571-6218)
Legislator Peter J. Schmitt, Minority Leader (516-571-6212)
Legislator Judith Jacobs, Presiding Officer (516-571-6216)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Buildings Secured at Proposed Subdivision

Unoccupied buildings on the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane, where a subdivision of seven single-family homes is planned, have been secured. The buildings have been open to the weather since at least last fall. Earlier this month, and on several previous occasions, the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association has requested that the Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) require the buildings to be properly sealed until such time as they may be demolished to make way for new construction (see Better Maintenance Needed at Glenwood Landing Subdivision, April 8).

We await word from the Nassau County Planning Commission about the status of site plan review for two lots at the front of the property created by a zoning change granted by TOB; protection of the Native American artifacts documented at the site; and seismic studies being required because of the scale of the retaining walls that will be needed to accommodate the extensive amount of soil that would be removed to create seven building lots.

The existing buildings have stood on the site since the 19th century. They were originally owned by the Townsends, one of Glenwood Landing's earliest families. The civic association commissioned a historical study of the site and submitted it to the TOB Landmarks Commission with the hope that it would be possible to preserve the structures. Unfortunately, no mechanism was found.

The civic association has participated in review of the subdivsion and proposed several alternatives, including a cluster plan and a five-structure/six-unit plan.

Living with Geese

It’s spring, and that means teams of specially trained municipal workers and volunteers are tramping around wetlands, golf courses, sumps, land fills, and even shopping malls armed with umbrellas, buckets, and vegetable oil. The teams are searching for geese that are nesting in areas that interfere with human activity and that are unsafe for the birds.

Like the goose at left, which is incubating her eggs in a planter on a dock, geese are increasingtly nesting in inappropriate places throughout Long Island and the entire eastern seaboard.

Each time a nest with at least one goose egg is located, the umbrella is used to shoo away the parents. The bucket is filled with water, and the egg is placed in the bucket. If the egg sinks, the embryo has not started to develop. In such cases, the egg is oiled to prevent oxygen diffusion. Cutting off the oxygen supply prevents the development of the embryo. Thus, a chick will not hatch. The egg is then placed back in nest so that the parents will not lay another egg to replace it—and population growth is reduced by one.

Eggs found in nests located in good nesting habitats also are oiled in order to limit popultaion growth as much as possible.

The effort is part of GeesePeace, a humane geese control program adopted by the Town of Oyster Bay, the Town of North Hempstead, and some villages. The program also involves site aversion. After the chicks hatch and before the birds molt (lose their feathers and are temporarily unable to fly), specially trained dogs (usually border collies) are used to systematically heard the birds away from inappropriate locations.

What you can do

It is important not to feed geese. Feeding geese is bad for the birds. Grasses and other plants are the natural diet of geese. A diet of bread and other human foods causes vitamin deficiency and makes geese vulnerable to serious, debilitating avian diseases. Feeding geese also encourages the geese to remain in an area and attracts more geese to the vicinity. This undermines the humane goose control management policies of local municipalities.

How geese affect water quality

For thousands of years, flocks of Canada geese have migrated across Long Island twice a year, in the Fall en-route to southern wintering grounds and in the Spring en-route to northern nesting grounds.

But, in recent years, flocks of resident, non-migratory Canada geese have grown so large that they have become a serious nuisance, a health threat, and a source of pollution. Runoff from geese waste drains into streams and storm drains and enters waterways, where it contributes to pollution. Geese waste also causes problems on golf courses, playgrounds, and ball fields.

The geese causing these problems were introduced to Long Island and neighboring states several decades ago for hunting and conservation purposes. The swelling population of these non-migratory geese—and the problems associated with them—were not anticipated.

Wonder birds

Geese are intelligent, excellent parents. They stay together all year and mate for life but will find a new partner if a mate dies. Migratory geese mate and nest in Canada. Only resident geese that were born in the United States mate and nest in the United States.

Migration is a learned process. Migratory geese return to the general area of their birth each year to mate and nest. Sometimes they nest in the exact same location from year to year, sometimes they choose a location nearby. Migratory geese do not become resident geese unless they are injured.

The flight range of migratory geese is 2,000- to- 3,000 miles. In contrast, resident geese fly 100- to- 200 miles to find food, water, and safety. Resident geese could fly as long a distance as their migratory cousins, but they have learned that long flights are not necessary.


Nesting season is from mid-March to mid-May. Geese begin to nest at age three. They prefer isolated sites near water. Islands are their favorite location. Nests are usually on the ground. When egg laying begins the male partner, known as the sentinel goose, stands watch nearby—but not close enough to give away the location of the nest to a predator. When a solitary goose is seen during nesting season, it’s probably the sentinel goose—and a nest probably is somewhere in the vicinity.

The group of eggs laid by the female is called a clutch. She generally lays 1 egg every 24 hours for several days until a full clutch is established (5 eggs on average). When all the eggs are laid, she begins to incubate them. Thus, all the hatchlings are the same age when the hatch. The incubation period is 28- to- 30 days.

It is easy to tell if the embryos have started to develop. Eggs not being incubated are cool to the touch. Undeveloped eggs that are still fluid sink or float vertically with the wider portion of the egg pointing down. Developing eggs float horizontally or at a slight angle and break the surface of the water.
At that point the goslings are 1- to- 2 weeks away from hatching.

All geese eggs in a single clutch hatch on approximately the same day. Baby geese are called goslings. They can fly approximately 2- to- 3 months after hatching. Geese can live up to 20 years and usually weight 20- to- 30 pounds.

When geese are chased from a traditional nesting area or a nesting area with too many nesting pairs, they find alternative sites to nest. These sites are often quite marginal—too far away from water and food—and may be in highly inappropriate locations—such as rooftops, balconies, ball fields, golf courses, and parks.


Each June, adult geese lose their wing feathers, a process called molting, and are temporarily unable to fly. Molting season runs from early June to late July. During the molt, geese need to be near water for easy escape from predators, and a food supply must be accessible. Foxes, raccoons, owls and snapping turtles are the natural predators of geese. Geese can fly again approximately 6 weeks after molting. Generally, by early August all geese (except those that are injured) are ready for flight.

Photo by Jennifer Wilson-Pines
GeesePeace Coordinator

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Adopt a Tree on Glenwood Road

Last Sunday afternoon, the 23 saplings planted along Glenwood Road in December received their first major drink of spring—four liters of water for each delivered by members of the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association. Nature followed up today with a welcome 1.7 inches of rainfall.

The trees were planted by the Nassau County Dept. of Public Works to replace older trees that have been lost over the last several years (see On Your Mark, Get Ready, Start Watering, March 26; New Trees for Glenwood Road, March 16).

If there’s a tree in the vicinity of your home, don’t forget to help get it off to a good start by giving it a minimum of one slow, soil-soaking drink a week throughout the spring and summer (more if there is a dry spell). Civic Association waterers were able to skip watering two trees that had already been watered by nearby neighbors.

According to the county, nearly all of the trees planted are sidewalk- and wire-friendly. In two instances taller trees with deeper root systems were planted in locations with no sidewalks; these trees are also relatively easy to prune because they have no central leader.

The sidewalk- and wire-friendly trees are Japanese Tree Lilacs and Japanese Kwanzan Cherries. The county tells us that if you live at 13, 26, 28, 29, 34, 36, 49, 59, or 72 Glenwood Road, you received a Japanese Tree Lilac; if you live at 65, 77, 86, 91, 98 101A, 108, 109, or 112 Glenwood Road, you received a Japanese Kwanzan Cherry; if you live at 126 or 128 Glenwood Road, you received a stately Japanese Zelkova. In a few instances, two trees were planted in front of one property.

Have you watered your tree yet? Are you considering doing so? Consider posting a comment to let the civic association—as well as visitors to the site—know. If you cannot reach the tree with your hose or if you do not have a watering can, you can fill up a couple of empty soda or milk bottles. Civic association waterers used two-liter soda bottles last week. Have a better technique? Why not let us know?

Better Maintenance Needed at Glenwood Landing Subdivision

Concern about the condition of the property at the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane opposite the Glenwood Landing Post Office has prompted the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association to contact the Nassau County Planning Commission and the Town of Oyster Bay about improved maintenance and proper development of the site.

A seven-unit subdivision is planned for the site. In the interim between subdivision approval and groundbreaking, the property has fallen into disrepair. Existing buildings are open to the weather, the grounds are poorly maintained, and debris frequently collects along the sidewalk and at other locations.

Last year, the Oyster Bay Town Board approved a zoning change from commercial to residential that created two of the seven lots. The civic association has contacted the town on several occasions since the zoning hearing to request that the town require the property to be maintained in a manner consistent with the town code: specifically that existing buildings be secured until such time as they may be demolished and that the grounds be properly maintained.

Unfortunately, the buildings remain open to the weather, as they have been for more than a year, and the build up of yard debris is common.

The Nassau County Planning Commission has approved a site plan for the additional five lots in an existing residential zone, with certain conditions. Among these conditions are that:

• the two lots created by the zoning change be presented to the county planning commission for site plan review;

• the Native American artifacts documented at the site be protected before any demolition or construction occurs;

• seismic studies be conducted because of the scale of the retaining walls that will be required to accommodate the extensive amount of soil that would be removed to create seven building lots.

The civic association has contacted the county planning commission to request a hearing to determine if the Native American artifacts have been properly removed and, therefore, that they no longer impede any application a developer might make to the town for a demolition permit.

The civic association also has requested that the county provide information about when in the development process the seismic studies would be conducted and how the results will be documented and presented to the public.

The civic association has participated in the review of this subdivision for at least six years. Among its proposals was a five-unit residential plan with four single-family structures and one owner-occupied two-family structure; we also urged the involved parties to consider a cluster plan. Shortly before the zoning hearing, stakeholders in the Glenwood Landing Business District requested that the Town Board maintain the commercial status of the property; the civic association was pleased to support this request.

Prior to the zoning change, the civic association commissioned a study of the property that was submitted to the Town of Oyster Bay Landmarks Commission. The study documented continuous human occupancy of the site from the pre-colonial period through the present and noted the importance of the Native American artifacts at the site. The study also noted that the Townsends, a local family with historic significance, were the original owners of the property and that the family retained ownership from the pre-revolutionary period through the early part of the last century. There have been only three owners of the site since the Townsend’s relinquished title. Our historian estimated that at least one structure on the site dates to the1850s, although a site inspection was not permitted by the owner of the property at the time the study was conducted.

The Landmarks Commission concluded that the documentation submitted by the civic association did not indicate that the property merited further investigation and rejected landmark status for the property.