Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Mandate For Murray, Says West Hempstead Civic Prez

Norton Negates Murray's Misguided Muzzling Of Community's Will

The Needs of the Many...

After reading your article "Incumbents Win on Election Day," I am totally dismayed at Supervisor Kate Murray's statement saying that "I hope that those few residents that are perhaps skeptical about our plan will come into the fold and get excited as I am about our urban renewal plan."

Virtually every West Hempstead organization has come out to support the Trammell Crow Residential apartment complex and the 65 units per acre and oppose the Urban Renewal Plan. Among those organizations are: West Hempstead Board of Education, WH Education Association (teachers union), WH Chamber of Commerce, Cathedral Gardens Civic Association, WH Soccer Chiefs, WH Lions Club, WH Kiwanis Club, WH Historical Society, WH Community Scholarship Fund and the WH Civic Association. In addition, over 2400 letters and signed petitions have been delivered to Supervisor Murray, all in opposition to the Urban Renewal Plan and in support of the sale of the Courtesy to Trammell Crow and allowing 65 units per acre. In a community the size of West Hempstead, this certainly constitutes a vast majority of residents.

How then can Ms. Murray say only a few are skeptical?

Supervisor Murray constantly keeps saying there are 10 acres designated for redevelopment? This is misleading because 10 acres cannot be used for development. The Urban Renewal Plan clearly states that the full 10 acres cannot be utilized. Yet our supervisor continues to make reference to developing 10 acres in press releases and in quotes to the press.

There are many reasons why so many are opposed to the Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead. First and foremost, there isn't any clear plan. In addition, it effectively kills the private sale of the Courtesy to Trammell Crow Residential as well as the Rockefeller Group's planned senior citizen townhouses on the AVF Carting property; it also creates a situation where National Wholesale Liquidators would be in violation of existing town code resulting in reducing its value and threatening the existence of this business which pays over $1.2 million in taxes.

The owners of the four pieces of property within the plan have all said they would oppose the taking of their property under eminent domain. This will result in years of litigation costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and will result in the Courtesy remaining open for years if not possibly forever. What is downplayed by the town is the requirement under eminent domain to find a location to enable the owner of the Courtesy to relocate his business. In which community does the town intend to relocate the Courtesy?

Yes, Supervisor Murray was returned to office. But, that shouldn't be translated into having received a mandate from West Hempstead to continue to charge full steam ahead with an ill conceived plan for our community. Our politicians would better serve us if they remove their rose colored glasses, walk among us and take a realistic look at the mess the Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead creates.

Rosalie Norton
President, West Hempstead Civic Association

(Note: There is a copy of the Urban Renewal Plan and the Environmental Impact Study in the West Hempstead Public Library)

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