Although it was a dark and stormy evening on Monday, the energy in Sea Cliff Village Hall was high as the village board unanimously approved the adoption of the Sea Cliff Comprehensive Plan.
The project has been years in the making and represents a culmination of efforts to engage with the community and discuss the path that Sea Cliff residents want their village to take.
Creating a comprehensive or long-range plan began in 2019 with the establishment of the Sea Cliff Steering Committee. Comprehensive plans are used to establish a framework to plan for potential problems or changes that may occur in the near or distant future.
There has been some push back from Sea Cliff residents in adopting the plan, most notably from those concerned that it will encourage traffic congestion and overdevelopment in the area.
Despite this, Sea Cliff Mayor Elena Villafane made the plan one of the top priorities for her administration, and held numerous public meetings throughout the past year to assuage the concerns of residents and explain the plan’s purpose is to give the community control over the village’s future.
Villafane thanked BFJ Planning, the consultant who worked with the village to formulate the 187 page plan. She also expressed her appreciation for the residents who attended the meetings, responded to surveys, and made their opinions on the various aspects of the plan heard throughout the process.
“We believe that this is the first step in the road ahead of us that will lead us to a zoning process as we face some pressures to adapt and advance through the modern world,” Villafane said. “Thank you all again for all your help and assistance throughout. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we believe this plan is a true reflection of our community.”
This is the first time the village had a comprehensive plan since the 1970s. It covers a wide range of potential issues and problems currently facing the village, such as overdevelopment, as well as more long-term ones like environmental challenges.
Now in its final form, the comprehensive plan’s first chapter presents a brief history of Sea Cliff, dating as far back as its inhabitation by members of the Matinecock tribe of Algonquins pre-European settlement. This is followed by a description of Sea Cliff’s regional context, describing the neighboring municipalities and providing examples of other regional comprehensive plans like Nassau County’s from 2010 and the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee’s 2004 plan.
The second chapter of the plan covers the village’s demographics, charting population growth and decline over the past two decades and comparing it to the changes in the Town of Oyster Bay and Nassau County. The third chapter is entitled “Land Use and Zoning,” and provides a comprehensive map and overview of every property in the village, from housing to industrial and religious properties.
Chapters 4 and 5 cover transportation and housing throughout the village. They identify goals to improve the walkability and safety of Sea Cliff streets and to preserve the village’s community character and residential neighborhoods.
Chapter 6 analyzes utilities, specifically looking at how to maintain and improve the current water and sewage systems while enhancing energy efficiency in Sea Cliff. Chapter 7 looks at community facilities, services and intergovernmental cooperation, covering everything from uses for the 325 Prospect Avenue properties and upgrading municipal buildings and parks.
Chapters 8 and 9 analyze ways to encourage economic growth in the village and its business districts and preserve historic and cultural properties. Sea Cliff is full of buildings dating back to its founding in the late 1800s which help give the village its unique character, and maintaining that character and strengthening local businesses has been an ongoing concern of villagers throughout the planning process.
Adapting to climate change and protecting the village’s natural resources and environment are covered in chapters 10 and 11. Local organizations like the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor have been active in their advocacy for strengthening the environmental protections in the village for years and these chapters constitute nearly 20 percent of the comprehensive plan.
Finally, chapter 12 covers plans for future land use and how to implement them and is the largest individual chapter at 33 pages. It proposes recommendations for how to actualize and address the issues and opportunities raised by the previous chapters, and focuses on providing a policy foundation for future zoning changes.
Anyone interested in reading the full plan and learning more about it can visit seacliffcomprehensiveplan.com for more details.