Plaza reverses course on biz

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Plaza reverses course on biz

I’m perplexed. Only a few months ago the mayor and the Board of Trustees of Great Neck Plaza announced that the commercial vacancy rate for the village was at an acceptable level given the state of the economy.

And just days ago they have changed direction and announced that there are too many vacancies and they now want to approve zoning changes to create conditional-use buildings to spur economic development.

A certified planner hired by the village took it a step further and had the audacity to use our tax dollars to make the suggestion that there is a shortage of apartments in Great Neck Plaza.

Perhaps this planner should go back to school to get his real estate license so he could properly analyze the current state of the real estate market and see that the village is drowning in apartments.

A recent search on Multiple Listing Service of Long Island for example identified more than 200 apartments for sale in the village and another three dozen rental units on Welwyn and Schenck alone.

While I am all for relaxing some of the ludicrous restrictions placed on commercial property owners, making this change won’t spur a thing. It’s like our village officials have been living under a rock made most evident perhaps by (Village of Great Neck Plaza) Trustee Marksheid’s recent comparison of “development” in Williamsburg.

Now before we ask Trustee Marksheid if she’s ever actually been to Williamsburg, it would be good to know if she has any basis to make that comparison, or has any clue about economic development.

I for one am willing to bet that she was given that line because it was a good sound bite. For those of us who have seen Trustee Marksheid in action as a quasi-representative of the village to the BID, I can tell you she doesn’t know the slightest thing about economic development or business.

If village officials were interested in economic development, and I mean really interested (not just because there is an election in March 2011 and they are aware of the impending challenge they face), they would appoint appropriate business-minded representatives to the board of the BID rather than themselves; they would invest in an aggressive marketing campaign that would generate traffic to the village; they would actually budget for and hire a competent economic development director to execute a series of new initiatives that go beyond their typical “elected official ribbon-cutting ceremony” photo-op’s to celebrate new businesses; and they would once and for all address the quality of life issues that make the village complicated – parking being among the most pressing.

If our elected officials want to talk out of both sides of their mouths, that’s fine, but the absent-minded representation that has dominated the village for over a quarter century, where our representatives in local government sat idly by as the downturn swept through the Plaza, should not go unnoticed by the voters of this village.

Great Neck Plaza needs leadership, not a bunch of pandering politicians who have an over-inflated sense of self that has prevented them from governing effectively.

Mayor Celender, if you’re serious about wanting to revitalize our downtown, let me commend you for addressing this issue (even if it took you too many years to come to this conclusion) and suggest that you call in experts to offer you guidance and advice and finally lift the unnecessary restrictions with which you have burdened property and business owners with for far too long.

It might also help if you and your colleagues on the Board of Trustees step away from interfering with the work of the BID and start focusing on the business of the people.

Michael S. Glickman

[email protected]

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