For the second time this month, the Garden City Board of Trustees deferred voting on approving amendments to the village’s zoning code at the June 16 village board meeting. Prior to closing a public hearing on the issue, the board of trustees discussed what the appropriate distance of fences from the front of property lines is. Furthermore, residents weighed in on how changes in the zoning code could adversely affect the quality of life and character of the community.
While Garden City School District is accustomed to highlighting countless student and teacher achievements at board of education meetings, last week two shining stars of the community shared the spotlight for their outstanding service to the Garden City School District.
At the board of education meeting on June 14, former School Board Trustee Laura Brown was presented a certificate of appreciation for her five years of service to the Garden City Board of Education. School Board President Colleen Foley told the audience that Brown’s departure earlier this year was due to health reasons.
Garden City’s green space will remain untouched after the majority of Planning Commission members voted to recommend preserving a vacant triangular piece of village-owned land on the west side of Franklin Avenue between Third and Fourth streets and designating the area as parkland in the near future.
The much-discussed proposal to develop the land in question was originally set forth by Planning Commission Member and Garden City resident Bill Bellmer. In a letter addressed to the Garden City Board of Trustees this February, Bellmer suggested that the village sell the parcel for residential use. In his written correspondence to the board, Bellmer stated that that the village will not only initially gain the revenue on the sale of the property, but also benefit from the continued tax revenue, the attractiveness of the residences, and the elimination of the need to maintain the land.
What to do with Garden City’s green space continued to be an issue on the minds of residents as they were presented the site plans for the development of the southern portion of the former Doubleday property into a three-story, 54-unit condominium complex on the east side of Franklin Avenue.
Garden City resident Kevin Walsh, an attorney representing EB 301 Realty, gave an overview of the proposal to members of the Planning Commission last week. Walsh stated that he, on behalf of his client, submitted a plan for three variances to the zoning board to advance the project. “We hope to be increasing the tax base for this village in a much greater way than potentially…would’ve been. I think we all agree it’s important to increase the tax base in a reasonable way whenever we can. And certainly, we think that the development of this site will do that among other things,” Walsh said.
At the Garden City Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, June 2, Deputy Mayor John J. Watras administered the oath of office to five new police officers. As reported back in March, the board of trustees voted to authorize the hiring of an additional five sworn patrol officers, which would yield a total of 52 sworn patrol officers in the Garden City Police Department. Separately at the meeting, residents expressed concern during a public hearing to amend a local law that would permit residents to erect fences and shrubs up to the front building line of their property.
A project five years in the making from conception to construction, the new Garden City War Memorial was unveiled at the village’s Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 30. The memorial replaces the village’s existing memorial on Seventh Street, opposite the Garden City Hotel. “It is a magnificent rendering of respect for those from Garden City who have served in the military to guarantee our wonderful way of life and especially for those whose lives were taken from us in moments of personal bravery,” said John C. Donovan, Commander, William Bradford Turner Post 265, who directed the ceremony.
It’s the million-dollar question on the mind of many residents in Garden City: What will become of historic St. Paul’s Main Building? The Committee to Save St. Paul’s (CSSP) recently announced that it is prepared to present an updated plan for the building to the board of trustees come this fall.
At the most recent village board meeting, Peter Negri, president of the CSSP, was prepared to provide a possible solution to this looming village issue. Negri prefaced his remarks to the board by reminding the audience that on April 27, more than 4,400 residents voted on whether or not to float a $3.75 million bond to demolish the former boys school. Negri maintained that of those 4,400 voters, 75 percent (3,290 votes) voted against the issuance of a bond to demolish the structure.
Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt decided to mix things up at the special meeting of the Nassau County Legislature on Tuesday, May 24: Instead of adhering to the schedule, he decided to address the redistricting vote—the last item on the legislative calendar for that meeting- first. Angry Democratic legislators pointed out that the residents who had come to speak on the topic of authorizing financing for new projects in the Nassau Hub- the first item on the calendar- would have to wait several hours, and asked that the Hub item be called first, but Schmitt would not budge. As a result, it was nearly four hours before the Hub issue was called, after the legislature passed the redistricting plan 10-8.
It was not business as usual at Thursday night’s Garden City Village Board of Trustees meeting. After nearly an hour of running through the usual agenda, discussions became contentious when Mayor Donald Brudie unleashed several inflammatory accusations directed toward fellow board members indicating that they were trying to “usurp” his mayoral power and “take over” the board using votes.
The meeting began with a brief announcement read by the mayor about the formation of Personnel and Long-Term Planning Board Committee. “I am appointing an advisory committee to the mayor to review and recommend with regard to matters of employee succession, productivity and long-term planning,” Brudie said.
Garden City residents were still entering the high school gym before the polls officially closed at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. The board of education and school officials waited anxiously as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Albert Chase wrote the official budget vote results on a large green chalkboard with voters approving it with a vote of 1,820 to 1,081.
In the school board elections, incumbent trustee Angela Heineman ran unopposed and received a total of 1,746 votes; and newly appointed interim trustee Tom Pinou, who ran for Laura Brown’s seat, was elected with 1,475 votes.
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