North Hempstead Adopts New Moratorium On Waterfront

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On Dec. 19, Residents Forward, formerly Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, appeared before the Town of North Hempstead Board in support of a six-month waterfront development moratorium on Manhasset Bay in Port Washington. The town board voted unanimously to adopt the moratorium, which will give the town time to consider changing the current zoning laws and concerns about overdevelopment in the waterfront business district.

The local law no. 11 that was passed states, “the town board of the Town of North Hempstead finds that it is in the best interest of the town to impose a 180 day moratorium on the development of certain real property in the hamlet of Port Washington identified in Section 2 hereof, requiring the issuance of building permits, demolition permits, special permits, or any other discretionary approval. The moratorium will give the town board the opportunity to consider changes in town zoning regulations to better support water dependent businesses, public access to the waterfront, and preservation of the town’s nautical heritage and history.”

“The moratorium is essentially a six-month time-out on any development on our lower Main Street waterfront,” explained Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio. “During that time the town board will review the existing B-W zoning code (enacted in 2009) to determine if it is adequate to protect public access to the waterfront and remains in line with the community vision for lower Main Street. Before any changes are adopted, they will be discussed at multiple public meetings and hearings over the next six months. The public is invited to attend those meetings and provide feedback.”

This proposal creates an opportunity for all interested parties to investigate prospective development guidelines to protect and advance the vibrancy, sustainability and public access to Port Washington’s waterfront.

“Our residents want a beautiful and inspirational waterfront that captures the history and charm of Port Washington,” said Residents Forward executive director Mindy Germain. “Residents and visitors want to stroll, enjoy recreational water sports, shop, dine and take in Port Washington’s magical sunsets. The town’s moratorium provides an opportunity for our community to work with local government to plan, and continue the momentum of wonderful projects like Bay Walk. It is our hope that the town will consider our recommendation to promptly engage an expert consultant with a dynamic and people-oriented approach to waterfront redevelopment to guide this process with public participation. There are so many vibrant waterfronts that we can study from Newburgh, NY, to Bridgeport, CT, to Greenport, Long Island—inspiration abounds. We think this project will unite our community and build pride.”

With this proposed moratorium and a community visioning process, waterfront zoning on Manhasset Bay can be reevaluated to research the best redevelopment practices and outline community goals before new development proposals are evaluated.

“The town planning department believes that we have adequate expertise at the town to review the code and make any necessary changes,” said De Giorgio. “A final decision on the retention of any outside consultants to assist the town will be made after the holidays.”

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