Readers Write: New Oasis project in Port North seriously flawed

Readers Write: New Oasis project in Port North seriously flawed

Reporter Taylor Herzlich did a good job overall in reporting on the May 30 public hearing in Port Washington North, at which the Village Board heard comments on the proposed 55+ housing development of 44 units on 7.45 acres known as the New Oasis project.

But the online version published on June 4 included a misleading quote from Trustee Matthew Kepke.

Kepke was responding to the statement made at the end of the hearing by Jon Schuyler Brooks, an environmental attorney representing a group of neighbors (a group that includes this writer) who live near the proposed development.

While the story quoted Kepke accurately in saying, “First of all, the presumption that this was going to be approved at this meeting is inappropriate and the threat of litigation to intimidate and to create a stir is unfortunate,” Kepke was in error when he accused Brooks of presuming that the village board would rubber-stamp the project that night.

In fact, Brooks had merely alluded to the possibility that the village board would immediately approve the site plan.

Brooks’ actual words are captured on a recording that one of the neighbors made. Brooks said, “In anticipation of the very real possibility that this board will accept the recommendation of the planning board and approve the site plan, I am hoping that … the board will table this suggestion and move forward with a deliberate process to take the required hard look at this site plan and proposal.” (emphasis added)

Moreover, Brooks did not threaten to file suit depending on the outcome of the hearing. He had already filed the lawsuit. The Nassau County Clerk received it at 7:08 p.m. on May 30. The public hearing began at 7:30 p.m. on May 30.

Worth noting: Although, in the end, the board tabled its vote on the site plan approval, Mayor Weitzman did say at the start of the meeting that the village trustees “are here to review and accept the findings of our planning board” per the recording. (emphasis added)

The many nearby property owners, as well as residents from elsewhere in Port Washington and Port Washington North, who spoke at the public hearing opposed the New Oasis project.

They cited the loss of wildlife habitat—the parcel may be the last in Port North to support the documented population of screech owls and foxes — as well as the impact on the peninsula’s already excessive traffic.

Now that the village board has tabled the proposal, the mayor and trustees must use the time to take a new look at this fundamentally flawed project.

Barbara Selvin

Port Washington

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