Not Anti-­Development, But This Ain’t Smart!

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In regards to the Waterfront Development at Garvies Point, one major point that’s being missed is that the “opposition” is not against development.

We are for cleaning up the site, we are for the development of the site. We applaud the EPA and the DEC for their work to date and, as we’ve stated at the public meetings, we hope they will continue to remediate until it is completely cleaned up and there is no danger to human health. We would also applaud the smart, responsible development of the site, but the current plan is neither.

This project is being called “Smart Growth” but it violates virtually all Smart Growth principles.

The closest LIRR station, a staple requirement of the regional smart growth movement, is anywhere from 1 to 1.6 miles away. The nearest supermarket is 1.7 miles away.

Urban planning standards cite true walkability as anything reachable on foot within a quarter mile radius. Even the eastern portion of the Garvies Point site is a 0.6 mile walk, more than double the walkability standard used by urban planners.

Furthermore, the proposed plan is not mixed use, it is 96 percent residential; it offers limited transportation options; it does not blend in with the existing surroundings or architecture, it does not strengthen existing communities, it is not cost effective, and it disregards stakeholder input. It is out of scale with the North Shore and it is simply too dense.
RXR has stated that the company “…has been and continues to be at the forefront of downtown revitalization and redevelopment. In addition to real estate endeavors, our efforts also focus on improving communities as a whole…”

That all sounds very nice—and yet this is not “downtown,” it will not “improve our communities” it will destroy them, and they have no desire to work with people who actually live here to create something we can all live with. RXR is trying to create a precedent for their heinous “Urban-­Suburban” model, and, if unchecked, they will shove it down residents’ throats whether we like it or not! We must not let that happen.

As stated at the outset we are not anti-­development. There have been other plans put forward in the past that we would support wholeheartedly, and that would still bring new residents and business and spur much needed economic activity. In fact, a real mixed-use development with some residential, shops and other local businesses would spur more economic development for Glen Cove than the current plan.

Mayor Spinello calls the opposition a “small number of naysayers.” He also says that the city has a contract that needs to be honored. That is a convenient dismissal of the issues we have brought to the forefront. Indeed, it is a tactic of the powerful to frame the debate in a narrow means—“it’s either all or nothing”—“if we don’t get the TIF financing we can’t do the project,” “there has been too much invested in this plan to change it at this point,” “we have a contract”… It’s nonsense. The contract has already been renegotiated no less than eight times!

The debate needs to be re-­framed—what works for ALL of the stakeholders in the community? What can we imagine collectively that will enable everyone to say “YES!”?
That’s a discussion we, and most in the community, would support and welcome wholeheartedly.

—Roger Friedman, president, Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront

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