To the Editor:
I would like to respond to Mayor Ed Fare’s letter to the editor in last week’s Herald (“Objects to statement by school trustee”).
In my remarks at the Envision Valley Stream meeting, I made no comment whatsoever regarding the village’s process in creating its Master Plan or how participatory that process was. I did caution that careful consideration should be given to residents’ concerns when and if the village allows a hotel to be built in our village. I stand by that remark.
I would like to point out that the Herald’s Brian Croce correctly reported that I was speaking from personal experience in saying that the village does not have a good reputation for considering the needs of its residents. I can cite three specific instances from said personal experience where the village failed to consider the needs of its residents. One, when it granted Valley Stream Hyundai a zoning variance to allow it to operate a parking lot on a residential parcel, which turned into an outdoor showroom. Two, when it granted BNY Investments a zoning variance to operate an automotive repair shop in a residential area, ignoring the objections of surrounding residents who attended the zoning board meeting. And finally, by allowing Gregoris Nissan to park its cars on Casper Street, obstructing the view of the intersection and making for a hazardous traffic condition just blocks away from Shaw Avenue School. This was allowed to happen over the objections of surrounding residents as well.
Based on my personal experiences outlined above, my concern is that if hotel development is undertaken in our community and requires any kind of zoning variance, the village would grant such a variance without paying heed to residents’ concerns. I hope that is not the case and that, as Mayor Fare states, the village would “consider all of its residents.”
I appreciate the mayor’s efforts to establish an inclusive decision-making process, and I support any effort to increase business development in our community, as long as it is done in a responsible manner with opportunity for meaningful public participation.