Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Town's Delay; Activists' Dismay; Courtesy To Stay?

Town Hearing on Urban Renewal Plan Now On For December 11th. Maybe.

They've rescheduled (again) the public hearing on the Town's Urban Renewal Plan. On again, off again, this time for Tuesday, December 11, 2007 (in case you were wondering which year) at 10:30 AM (when most of us are at work or otherwise unavailable).

Should we tell you to come out to the Bennett Meeting Pavilion behind Town Hall (1 Washington Street, Hempstead), as we've done -- and done, and done -- in the past, only to have you sent away, disappointed?

Or do we dare to not ask you to show up (again) and be heard (again), lest the "hearing" (but who's listening?) go forward without opposition, Murray having her "mandate" to give the thumbs up to a plan that will further delay the closure of the Courtesy (perhaps for years), and forever change (for the worse, we fear) the landscape of West Hempstead's eastern gateway?

Well, mark your calendars accordingly, and be prepared to stand and resist Murray's mauling of our community's plans to revitalize and re-energize a vital part of our hamlet that has been blighted by the Courtesy, and neglected by the Town.

Watch your local newspapers, for e-mails from the West Hempstead Civic Association, and this blog, for the latest on the never-ending saga of the Courtesy Hotel.

And do send an e-mail to the powers-that-be (or pretend to be) at Town Hall -- even if you have done so before -- demanding that the Courtesy be closed and demolished, with the sale of the property to private developer, Trammell-Crow, green-lighted by Hempstead Town.

Hey, it's your community. If you don't fight for it, who will?

Town stalls owners' try to unload seedy hotel
Wednesday, November 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

A seedy West Hempstead hotel seems to have more lives than a cat - even though everyone, including its owners, wants it closed.

A crucial town hearing that many hoped would nail the coffin shut on the Courtesy Hotel on Hempstead Ave. has been postponed until Dec. 11, dragging out an already protracted saga.

The town board may decide that day to delay its vote on the Courtesy's fate until January, and its decision could lead to an extended legal battle.

"The Courtesy should have been closed by the end of the year," said Rosalie Norton, president of the West Hempstead Civic Association. "There's no way of understanding the reluctance to move forward."

The delays are tied to a feud between the town board and the Courtesy's owners, brothers Bruce and Richard Zwelsky.

The Zwelskys want to shutter the hotel, allegedly a hangout for prostitutes, and agreed last year to sell the land to apartment complex developer Trammell Crow Residential.

But the town government is seeking to prevent the sale. The Dec. 11 hearing centers on a plan that would condemn the Courtesy land and sell the property to a developer.

"It's more playing games and it's more delay," said Thomas Levin, a lawyer representing the Zwelsky brothers.

If the board votes to condemn the land - instead of letting the Zwelskys sell it to Trammell Crow - Levin said he expects to wage a legal battle, which some believe could drag on for months, if not years.

Levin said he couldn't predict when the hotel would close, given the town board's sluggish pace.
The hearing yesterday was canceled because two of seven town board members were absent, and the board needs a super-majority - a majority plus one - to approve the plan, said town spokesman Mike Deery.

Marshall Myers, the civic association's vice president, wondered whether the board delayed the vote in the hope that fewer residents would show up to protest.

"Once Thanksgiving hits, people's brains go into holiday mode," Myers said. "They don't want to hear it if it's anything besides being with family and shopping for Christmas."

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