WE NEED YOUR HELP — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.
Five Towns Letters to the Editor

Woodmere Club survey is premature

Posted

To the Editor:

Recently, an “Official Woodmere Golf Course Survey” was sent to several thousand residents in Woodmere and areas bordering the Woodmere Club (“Survey for Woodmere Club says?” May 30-June 5). The survey was crafted and sent without my input or support.

The members of the Town of Hempstead council who represent the area decided to break away from working with the supervisor’s office, and as a result have caused more harm than good. While the council members have claimed the survey was simply to solicit residents’ feedback on future development at the site, the lack of information on how they came up with the limited options offered was panic-inducing, and my office received calls from residents asking one basic question:

How did we get here?

Putting out the mailer without providing information on related engineering and planning studies deprives residents of the ability to make an informed decision on a major quality-of-life issue for them and their neighbors.

The survey asked homeowners to choose between a proposed rezoning of the Woodmere Club and the creation of a special park district that would result in an indeterminate tax increase.

After seeing a copy of the survey — after it was sent out — I, too, was left frustrated, and had more questions than answers. How were these options and potential tax hikes determined? What is the feasibility of having a parks district? Are there other options? What will the proposed new zoning mean? What could be the possible environmental impact of 285 new residences built in this coastal flood zone if no change is made? The short answer is we don’t know yet.

The special park district study is still not complete. Neither is the proposed zoning study. These two documents need to be completed, contemplated and shared with residents before the community can make an informed decision.

Residents need to be presented with all the information from both studies in a public meeting before being asked to choose between options that will have lasting effects on them and, potentially, their taxes for years to come.

So, to all residents who received a survey but don’t feel prepared to answer it, and want more information before making an informed decision, feel free to delay your response.

This is a decision that should not be made in haste. I will ensure that a public meeting, with ample notice, is held once both studies are completed, and I will invite council members to take part.

I firmly believe democracy only works when it is conducted transparently, in the open. These important land land-use decisions affect citizens’ home values and quality of life. Taxpayers deserve more than a premature “survey.”

LAURA GILLEN

Town of Hempstead supervisor