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North Hempstead Passes Main Street Mixed-Use Zoning

Port Washington zoning change will affect parts of Main Street.

The Town of North Hempstead board passed a measure Tuesday night that will allow both residential and commercial use in one building on parts of Main Street. The approval came after nearly three-and-a-half hours of testimony during a public hearing.

At the start of the hearing, Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio said that she would be abstaining from voting because the debate about this has become more centered around her than the actual issue. Before abstaining from voting, DeGiorgio explained that she supported the project and thinks that this is the right thing for Port Washington. All of the other town board members voted for the proposal, including Councilman Tom Dwyer, who cited that 15 years ago he disagreed with the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington group regarding a golf course and that was one of the things that helped to make the town one of the top 100 places to live.

Laura Shabe was the last resident to speak on the issue on Tuesday noted that people against the proposal were represented by 23 total speakers, 18 of those were new; and people for the proposal were represented by 11 total speakers, with five of those new. 

"Where are all the people who think this is a good idea?" Shabe asked. "I can't find them."

She also had petitions that included more than 700 people who were against the proposed zoning change.

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Other Port Washington residents proposed ideas such as enforcing the current code more strictly and conducting surveys of which kinds of businesses people want in Port Washington. Some asked that the proposed zoning change be put to a referendum so that more voices could be heard about the issue.

"My belief is it will make a positive impact," Supervisor Jon Kaiman said of the zoning change. He also noted that the plan had its share of supporters.

The zoning change will allow for some Main Street businesses to expand to a maximum of three stories in buildings that contain both residential and commercial uses. The plan also includes an idea of shared parking, where residents would park in spaces at night that commuters occupy during the day. Initially the plan included several consecutive blocks of Main Street but the latest proposal took some of those blocks out so as not to create a "canyon effect," or in other words have too many tall buildings in a row.

Some Port residents at the meeting encouraged Councilwoman DeGiorgio to vote on the zoning change either for or against just so that someone who actually lives in Port Washington would have voiced their opinion and represented the district.

This article was updated to identify Laura Shabe as one of the residents speaking at the meeting, and her calculation of the total number of people for and against the proposal. 

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Port Citizen January 08, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Of course he is their honoree. Rezoning is RFMBPW's baby. They handed it off to ToNH to get it completed. Kaiman pushed it through, while his council people followed like sheep barely showing a real emotion either in favor or opposed to the idea. Our local Rep Dina abstained from voting. The local people that followed this processed screamed all the while, but no one cared to really listen. the only ones not scream - RFMBPW's Board Members So, they honor him for carrying out their vision, while ignoring the more popular sentiment against the idea. Reprehensible. Adding another layer to our government, we have added RFMBPW. Lest anyone be fooled they are just a 'grass roots' organization, doing good work for the people. they are a politically funded/supported not for profit, that takes $0.60 of every dollar that people give to cover the salaries of their staff. The noble intentions of the founding of this group 40 or so years ago was wonderful, and did great things. However, what this has morphed is an entirely different creature.
Local Resident January 08, 2013 at 06:56 PM
This should be a wake-up call for those who continue to donate to RFMBPW and continue to think that RFMBPW is not politically motivated and still "in-it-for-the-people". Now that the rezoning proposal has passed, RFMBPW is not even trying to conceal their true intentions anymore. WAKE UP ALREADY.
jonathan winant January 08, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Wake the hell up Port Washington residents!!!! Before the rezoning we allready had mixed use buildings exceeding the height which the re-zoning would allow. Before the rezoning proposal we had mixed use buildings and not one had to supply on site parking. Before talk of the rezoning we had the RFMBPW helping to beautify Port Washington not destroy it. So now we have a passed proposal to rezone what was allready there. Scratch your head and wonder what we and the Town Of North Hempstead, John Kaiman and Dina (no vote) did to our town at who's expense.
jonathan winant January 08, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Lets all wait and see what this costs residents in innconvienance, parking headaches, taxes, garbage, construction and other obvious and un-discussed problems.

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