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Letter: ‘Broken Promises, Lack of Communication’ in New Parking Garage Construction

The story on the front page in the Aug. 13 edition of the Hicksville Illustrated News headlined “Town of Oyster Bay’s Hicksville Parking Garage Rises From the Ashes” contained the following statement:

“The Town of Oyster Bay awarded … a contract to build this vital infrastructure improvement and increase the number of parking spaces from 1,100 spots to 1,500 spots.”  

What a surprise! That is not what the residents directly affected by the existence of the Hicksville parking garage, the homeowners whose backyards border on the parking garage, the homeowners of West Marie Street and Duffy Avenue and members of The Duffy Park Civic Association have been repeatedly told.  In numerous meetings held with Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) officials to discuss first the demolition and then the reconstruction of the parking garage, we were consistently told that there were 1,400 parking spots in the old garage and there would be 1,400 spots in the new garage. When challenged by a homeowner who had counted only 1,200 spaces in the old garage, the TOB officials insisted on the 1,400 number.

When the town rejected all of our suggestions for alternate sites for the garage and it became clear that the Town of Oyster Bay officials were determined to rebuild the garage in its old location the homeowners repeatedly requested two things:

1. An Environmental Impact Study

2. A Traffic Impact Study

We were repeatedly told that although an Environmental Impact Study had never been done on the original garage since it was built prior to requirements for such a study, the TOB was not legally required to do either of these studies because the garage was being rebuilt on the same site, using the same footprint and the number of parking spots was not changing. There were 1,400 parking spots in the old garage; there would be 1,400 spots in the new garage. Our suggestion that if not legally bound to do the studies, the town had a moral obligation to their residents to do the studies fell on deaf ears.

Now, with construction well under way, we find out that there were 1,100 spots in the old garage and there will be 1,500 spots in the new garage. Four hundred more cars to pollute our neighborhood and 400 more cars on roads, which at rush hour before the garage was closed were already gridlocked. I wonder if we had been given accurate, honest information before construction began that the TOB planned to increase the capacity of the parking garage by more than 25 percent we could have taken the TOB to court and forced the town to do these studies so vital to our neighborhood’s health and safety.

We will just add this to the long string of broken promises, lack of communication, misinformation and lies that have permeated this entire process. It has given me, personally, a whole new understanding of how our local government, at least in the Town of Oyster Bay, works for me.

Sheila Dooley