Community News

Environmental Advocates Rally Against State Housing Plan

Dozens of environmental advocates from Friends of the Bay, the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, North Shore Audubon Society, North Shore Land Alliance and Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee joined with Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Glen Cove Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck and town and village elected officials to demand that Albany lawmakers eliminate Governor Hochul’s plans to flood suburbia with high density housing.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “From straining Long Island’s sole-source aquifer to concerns over saltwater intrusion into our drinking water, septic waste, increased nitrogen to bays and harbors, and damage to the ecosystem, wildlife and local wetlands, we urge State lawmakers to eliminate the Governor’s Housing Plan. Let’s face it, the Governor’s plan would result in thousands of apartments flooding every single-family-zoned neighborhood – and will result in spot zoning in which large scale apartment buildings are next to single family homes. It would overcrowd classrooms, greatly increase traffic and cars parked on our streets, strain emergency services, and gravely threaten the environment. This should upset every Long Islander and New Yorker for a long list of reasons.”

“For years, North Shore municipalities like North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, and the City of Glen Cove, have fought side by side with dedicated environmental activists to protect Manhasset Bay, Hempstead Harbor, and Cold Spring Harbor,” Supervisor Jen DeSena said. “It’s difficult to truly put into words the negative impact that will be felt by these bays and harbors due to overdevelopment, not to mention the imminent danger and damage the ecosystems, wildlife, and local wetlands face if this plan moves forward. The bottom line is this plan is not right for the unique needs of Long Island, and if it moves forward, stands to do much more harm than good.”

Heather Johnson, Executive Director of Friends of the Bay, said, “Friends of the Bay strongly opposes Governor Hochul’s proposed ‘one size fits all’ unreasonable call for high density development in our area and across the state. The density reduces open space, it would strain our aquifer system to the point of increasing the likelihood of salt water intrusion and could close existing water wells. And these units would create more septic waste.”

Eric Swenson, Executive Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, stated, “The Governor’s budget proposal not only provides a way for the state to remove a local government’s zoning powers that are guaranteed under Article IX of the State Constitution, but it eliminates any comprehensive environmental review of both required zoning changes and the construction of high-density housing. There is no question that the environmental implications could be enormous and have long-term environmental consequences for this and future generations. It is critical that they be addressed in a comprehensive manner and that mitigation measures be implemented where necessary or we stand to lose 50 years of environmental progress. To exempt such high-density construction from comprehensive environmental review is outrageous and could set back the decades of progress that I and others have worked so hard for.”

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