Glen Cove’s City Hall echoed with the voices of residents eager to share their thoughts on plans for the city’s future. Families, business owners, senior citizens and those involved in the performing arts, just to name a few, were eager to address the issues that mattered most to them at a second workshop on Jan. 31 to discuss the city’s “smart growth” comprehensive plan, which is helping to establish goals and recommendations for future development, infrastructure and services.
BFJ Planning, a Manhattan consulting firm, was hired to help the city develop the plan, which is being funded by grants from New York’s state and environmental conservation departments.
A committee made up of community members is preparing the plan. The City Council, city employees, the Glen Cove Community Development Agency and residents as well as civic, environmental and community-based organizations, business and property owners and other stakeholders will all have a say in the plan the city ultimately adopts.
Its comprehensive plan was last updated in 2009, but many municipalities try to update their plans every 10 years to ensure that they reflect current demographics, and planning and development efforts.
The plan will take into account the changes that have occurred in recent years, including large-scale redevelopment in the downtown and waterfront areas, as well as changes in the commercial real estate market resulting from the pandemic. It will also address the population growth from 2010 to 2020. The city’s population increased by 5.2 percent, to just under 30,000 in a 10-year period.
About 600 people responded to an online survey, offering their opinions on the city’s strengths and weaknesses. Of those, 73 percent identified as residents, 20 percent both live and work in the city, and 4 percent only work in Glen Cove. Some 50 percent said they have lived in the city for over 20 years. The results revealed that the city’s strengths include its parks and beaches, its overall quality of live and its first responders. They respondents identified the city’s weaknesses as its downtown, its tax rate and the cost of living.
In the public hearing portion of the workshop, Glen Cove residents such as Gracie Donaldson Cipriano voiced concerns about the number of people who responded to the survey, suggesting that 600 is a small sampling given the city’s population.
Others, such as Dr. Stacie Locascio, said they were concerned about the number of young people leaving Glen Cove because of the lack of affordable housing. Locascio asked whether the city would permit more mother-daughter-style homes, and Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck responded that that kind of housing would be “something we need to look into.”
The survey found that community members feel safe walking through the downtown, and that it’s an easily walkable municipality. Others, like Amy Peters, the owner and organizer of Deep Roots Market, touched on other survey findings that indicated that the city doesn’t “feel like a true vibrant downtown.” Peters said she believed that Glen Cove should take inspiration from Long Beach and surrounding areas on the South Shore.
“Part of the reason why those towns are vibrant is because they’re pass-through towns,” she said. “People have to pass through them to get somewhere else. We have a problem with being at the end of a peninsula. What we need is an attraction so that people from elsewhere will come here on purpose, not by accident.”
Peters went on to suggest building an arts center or a music venue.
Although 75 percent of those surveyed said they felt that the city’s community facilities meet their needs, around 40 percent said they supported public spending to improve parks and open spaces.
Roni Epstein said she hoped Glen Cove could create more community facilities. “Long Beach has an ice rink, they have a pool, and Port Washington has a nice skateboard park,” Epstein said. “Maybe instead of subsidizing high-density housing complexes, you can subsidize something for the kids.”
Epstein added that she would like to see hockey tournaments in the area, because they would attract more visitors to the downtown, and players often receive scholarships to help them pay for higher education.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on the comprehensive plan in the spring. Those interested in learning more about it can review the preliminary version at GlenCoveComprehensivePlan.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.