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Letter: Community Concerns Are Trumped by Corporate Interests

(Editors note: This letter was sent to the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals and to the Manhasset Press for publication.)

On May 20 we attended the Public Hearing at Town Hall at which time we presented the attached letter requesting that the board deny Appeal #18625 Apple Computer/Centre Manhasset, LLC for a variance to enable the applicant to place an illuminated sign on the rear of the building that will be four feet tall. This sign exceeds the code which requires a maximum height of two feet.

Despite the Strathmore Village Civic Association’s opposition and the opposition of the residents whose homes are located within 340-525 feet of the sign the board granted the variance. (To our knowledge residents of South Strathmore were not even contacted. The only property owner consulted was the owner of the former Village Bath Club site which is currently a vacant lot and a blight upon the community). We are disappointed that the board failed to consider the input of nearby residents especially when a smaller sign on the rear of the building will not cause the applicant undue hardship as we believe and the applicant stated during the hearing that Apple is a destination store and not dependent on signage to attract customers. Further the board’s action to require that the sign be extinguished within one half hour of closing does little to comfort residents as during the holiday season they can anticipate the sign being illuminated until 10:30 -11 p.m.

One of the benefits of local government is to provide local control and responsiveness to the community it serves. We pay for this service in the form of higher taxes. The question that residents need to ask themselves is whether or not local control is worth the cost if community concerns are trumped by corporate interests. Thank you.

Strathmore Village Civic Association