Saturday, July 19, 2008

North Hempstead BZA Approves Variances for Apartment Building on Glenwood Landing Waterfront

The Civic Association has received an unconfirmed report that the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals this week approved variances for the apartment building proposed by Glen Harbor Partners for the Glenwood Landing Waterfront south of the Glenwood Landing Power Station. The move clears the way for site plan review by the Town of North Hempstead Planning Board. Public participation will be vital in the site plan review process and can help shape the appearance of the building, the landscaping, and promised public esplanade.

No Athletic Field for Tappen Beach

July 15, 2008: The Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor reports in the email message below that the Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) has announced that an athletic field will not be installed at Tappen Beach. The Civic Association hopes that TOB will reconvene the Glenwood Landing Waterfront Steering Committee and hold meetings to gather community input about people's vision for Tappen Beach with a view toward updating or creating a new Tappen Beach Plan.

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There will be no artificial-turf field at Tappen Beach! That was the good news today at the TOBAY board meeting! Following about two hours of public hearings, Supervisor John Venditto opened the meeting up for public comment, and when the issue of the Tappen Beach artificial-turf field proposal came up, he stated that the plan has been stopped and that he had made a mistake and miscalculated the public sentiment over the project, and he admitted to being bombarded with calls and e-mails opposing the project.

You all made this happen--everyone who took time to write or call the supervisor's office, write letters to the editor, and sign the petition. (We had nearly 700 signatures on the petition that was circulated to halt the artificial-turf-field proposal.!) This is a victory for the community not only in ensuring that public health and environment will be protected, our quality of life preserved, and our treasured beach park protected from a use that is not in harmony with coastal activities, but also for our faith in the public process. The voices of individuals count, and together we can make a difference in events that shape the future!

We could leave it at that and say we're done, but we're not. First, please take time to write to Supervisor Venditto and thank him for listening to the community. (It took him long enough, but he knows that he made a mistake and that the town's public information system is flawed.) Then tell him you are still concerned about the potential health hazards that artificial turf poses to the town's children and environment and that you encourage the town to initiate a townwide moratorium on construction of artificial turf fields until all the information is in from the appropriate health and environmental agencies--see that attached document that was submitted to Supervisor Venditto and the town council this morning. (The Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor has never been a NIMBY organization; we don't want to shift the problem to another community.)

And there's this last request. The Coalition is used to operating a shoestring, but the string has become quite thin these days. In addition to all the support you have offered, we need your financial support as well to be able to keep things going so that when the need arises, we will be ready to act. We have downsized our operation, but we still have rent to pay and internet, phone, mail expenses, etc. We have obtained grant money to fund our water program, but we do not have sufficient funds to cover our activist activities. We have not asked for membership dues in a long while, but we are asking now. If you can afford $25 or more, we would greatly appreciate that or any amount you are comfortable donating. Please make checks payable to the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor and send them to P.O. Box 159, Sea Cliff, NY 11579. Also, please include your mailing address so that we can acknowledge your contribution as required for tax purposes.

Best regards,
Carol DiPaolo
Programs Director

Civic Letter to the Editor re Proposed Athletic Field at Tappen Beach

June 6, 2008: Letter to the Editor, Glen Cove Record Pilot

Looking for Answers to Tappen Beach Changes

There is perhaps no more significant natural resource in Glenwood Landing and Glen Head than the Glenwood Landing Waterfront. The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association believes that the installation of an artificial turf athletic field at Tappen Beach is a major change in, and intensification of, use for that resource. We believe that such a change requires public input in an open forum that provides all residents with the same information and the same opportunity to comment. Such a forum also would require the town to respond to the various concerns expressed by residents.

Having heard vague rumors that another athletic field might be in the works for Tappen and having had no luck in confirming the rumor through normal channels, I attended a Town Board meeting last June and waited until midnight to request information during the public comment period. Several weeks later, the Parks Department contacted me and a meeting was arranged.

At that meeting, I asked many questions including but not limited to: Is there a plan for the design, construction, management, and continued maintenance of the field? How does the plan address such concerns as the impact of an athletic field on view corridors, mature trees, the picnic area and other green space, and recently installed improvements, such as the play area? How will the field be integrated into the park? Will there be lights? If so, how bright, how tall, how late will they be on, and what will the electric bill be? Will the field be like the one recently installed at Center Island or the one at John Burns? Will there be fences? If so, how many and how tall? Will tarps be placed on the fences? Will there be bleachers? What will the hours of operation be? Will players who do not belong to clubs be accommodated and if so, how? Who will maintain the artificial turf? Is artificial turf safe for children and the environment? How many teams and how many clubs use fields in the area? Few answers were provided.

I said the situation highlighted the need to update the plan for Tappen Beach and that no major changes to the beach should be made until such a process is completed with plenty of public input. I said the plan should include three scenarios: a vision for the park if the utility lots are acquired; a vision for the park if the utility lots are not acquired; and a list of projects that can be implemented while the disposition of the utility lots is resolved. I also said that a recreational needs assessment for the community should be conducted, a suggestion made in the Glenwood Landing Waterfront Redevelopment and Revitalization Plan.

The Town established a strong precedent for public participation in its northwestern hamlets by preparing and adopting the GWL Waterfront Plan. While we are certain that the athletic field project is well motivated and that an athletic field of some type may be needed, the procedure that has been used to advance the project undermines this precedent. I know of no public meetings or agendas that included an artificial turf athletic field at Tappen Beach. Although I certainly could have missed one, I sure have been keeping my eyes peeled. Furthermore, private meetings between the Parks Department and various user groups do not constitute an open, public process.

This Civic Association is committed to balancing the competing needs and interests of the community, recognizes the role of compromise, and has the track record to prove it. We contend that the athletic field that the Parks Department seems so intent on installing cannot result in balance because of the flawed method by which the project is being advanced. We urge the Town to reconsider the matter pending updating of the Tappen Beach plan; a needs assessment; and a town-conducted, community-wide informational mailing and public meeting held in Glen Head.

Comments and correspondence from the Civic Association about the possibility of an artificial turf athletic field at Tappen Beach can be viewed at

Patrice Benneward, President, Glenwood/Glen Head Civic Association