Posts Tagged ‘NAACP’

Groups Urge Town to Settle Housing Suit

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Housing advocates  on Tuesday urged the Town Board to accept a proposed settlement of a lawsuit that would allow apartment rentals at a development in Melville.

The NAACP lawsuit, which reaches back more than a decade, involves a plan for apartments on Ruland Road. The settlement would allow 77 one-bedroom, 34 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom rental apartments. Others, such as the Sweet Hollow Civic Association, say the apartments should be sold, not rented.

Richard Koubek, president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, said, “The time has come” for affordable rental apartments. Citing the decline in enrollment of students in the Half Hollow Hills school district which has led to a decision to close two schools, Koubek said, “This is a case of some people in Dix Hills working against Dix Hills.”

The Town Board is scheduled to consider the proposed settlement next Tuesday in a 7 p.m. hearing at Town Hall.

Tuesday’s press conference outside Town Hall brought together a coalition of groups and individuals, some of whom have been on opposite sides on other housing issues. Among the advocates, such as the NAACP, the Progressive Coalition and the Melville Chamber of Commerce, was Matt Harris, a community activist who opposes the Avalon Huntington Station development on East Fifth Street.

Read full article at the Half Hollow Hills Patch: http://halfhollowhills.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/groups-urge-town-to-settle-housing-suit_8fc59161

Town Board Rebuffs Mayoka’s Call for Moratorium, Will Move Forward with Avalon Vote in Two Weeks

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By Rosey Mulderrig, on September 7th, 2010

Tuesday’s Town Board meeting started out with a bang. This was the last meeting before September 21st when Board will vote on whether to downzone 29 acres in Huntington Station for Transit Oriented Development (TOD). If TOD zoning is approved, AvalonBay will have cleared all zoning hurdles and move a step closer to beginning construction of a 490-unit high-density housing development in Huntington Station. If approved as written, high density TOD zoning is also approved for any developer that can assemble a 10-acre parcel of land within half a mile of Huntington Train Station. A group of TOD supporters held a rally in the front of Town Hall while opponents in a car with a bullhorn circled, loudly proclaiming all that they say is wrong with TOD. Among the Supporters who call themselves YIMBY’s (Yes in My Back Yard) were Dee Thompson, President of the NAACP’s Huntington Branch, Richard Koubek, President of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition and Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. Ironically, Thompson, Koubek and Tyson do not actually live in Huntington Station, the neighborhood that will have AvalonBay’s development in its backyard if TOD zoning is approved.

The Town Hall meeting was unusually crowded for a 2pm session. It was standing room only with most of the attendees showing up out to support their position on whether or not AvalonBay and TOD is good for Huntington. Resident Chris O’Donnell is so firmly against the development that he says he recently listed his house and will follow through on selling it and moving his child to a new district if TOD is approved.

Lisa Tyson says that Huntington does not need any more single family housing but must move forward with multi-family units to keep up with the times. She says that Long Island needs this TOD and implored the Town Board to approve TOD. She told them that this smart growth development will be their legacy.

Huntington Station residents Emma and Rick Riccardo went door to door with a petition against TOD zoning and found that 99 percent of the roughly 100 neighbors they visited are against the proposed development. Emma says that the schools cannot possibly handle any more students when some are already learning in closets. She has worked in the hospital and says that adding roughly 1,000 more people will stress an already overworked and overwhelmed staff. She also feels that trying to get an ambulance down Park Avenue with the additional cars that TOD will contribute is “an accident waiting to happen.“ She concluded saying “beehives are busy, good and useful but when you disturb them, well, see what you get.”

Huntington Station resident Dan Fucci says that although AvalonBay is powerful and has lots of money behind them, he feels that he and those who oppose the development have “the eye of the tiger and they intend to go the distance and win.” Fucci appealed to the Town Board to stand with the Huntington residents who live the American Way rather than aligning themselves with outside forces.

Alissa Taff commended the Town Board for moving ahead with their consideration of TOD despite threats of litigation it has aroused. Ken Christiansen, founder and director of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition says that it is important to look at the economics of the whole thing. He stated that the development would put spendable dollars on the street, which in turn will bring investors into the area.

Richard Koubek says that AvalonBay will bring $100 million in much needed funds to an economically challenged community. “When completed, AvalonBay will bring 360 families who could earn $120,00 a year with very few school children. With 122 units of affordable workforce housing for families who could earn between $45,000 and $120,000 a year, most of it rental housing, AvalonBay will help stem the flight of young workers and senior citizens who can’t afford“ to live in Huntington.

Huntington Station resident Zoe Taylor is a strong supporter of the development.  Her sons have moved away to lead successful careers and lives in another state. If housing were more affordable, it is possible that they would have remained and made solid contributions to Huntington, she opined

As the debate continued, both sides represented themselves very passionately, albeit the Say No to AvalonBay folks were a bit more boisterous. Councilman Mark Mayoka expressed his concern that the Town needs to focus on ridding the area of escalating crime before it adds high-density housing. He put forth a resolution to place a one-year moratorium on the vote for TOD zoning while the town focuses on fixing the area and investigating the impact the Avalon project will have on Huntington. Mayoka’s resolution was not seconded. Supervisor Petrone reiterated that he is committed to the down zoning vote taking place on September 21st and that is when it will happen.

Katharine Smith

Friday, June 11th, 2004

by Patricia Perry

The quiet rural community of Massapequa was transformed when an energetic young Katharine Smith and her husband Warren moved to 90 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1919. This small unassuming woman would greatly influence her community and inspire friends and family throughout Long Island and far beyond. Katharine’s convictions for basic human rights were molded by her father who championed the rights for laborers and workers of the fishing and lumbering industries of Washington State. Both Katharine’s parents encouraged reading and expected her to work on the farm which supported the family. Katharine financed her college education by teaching 18 students in a poor lumber community, married Warren and lived in mining camps in Canada and West Virginia before they moved Massapequa.

While her geologist husband traveled around the world, Katharine raised seven children, without automatic washer, dryer, dishwasher, television and with a coal burning furnace, and organized the Massapequa Mother’s Club, led 4-H activities, and participated in a book club and the local chapter of AAUW. She rode the train to New York City and met leaders of new progressive organizations, the ACLU, NAACP, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and invited her City friends to Long Island and attend backyard picnics at her home.

She also joined the Socialist Party and was designated a candidate for the NYS Assembly in 1931. As she campaigned door-to-door she was saddened that so few Massapequans shared her concerns for the “poor and downtrodden.” But she was not discouraged and continued to campaign for social causes. During the Depression she applied to work for the new county department for home relief which became the Department of Social Services, retiring in 1962. While she worked, her home continued as a headquarters for meetings and guests. In the 40’s she attended services at the Bethpage Quaker Meeting House and became active in that congregation. Whenever possible she and children would travel to West Coast relatives by train and later by car and camping, never at a motel! She taught her children the names of plants and birds and maintained a concern for protecting the environment.

Most of Katharine’s present day admirers remember her as a gracious hostess who was knowledgeable about current events. She read magazines, newspapers, books and all mail requesting donations. She responded with a contribution to most, as well as long hand written letters of support and encouragement. She also wrote frequently to legislators with praise or criticism as she felt was deserved.

It is well known that she deeded part of her property for the Massapequa Central Branch Library. She was an early supporter of a 60’s civil rights group, the Massapequa Committee for Inter-group Relations. After the death of Warren in 1965, Katharine explored opportunities for her home to be a permanent peace center. In 1971, she gathered friends around her dining room table to form Peacesmiths, Inc., to promote civil liberties, civil rights, peace and the environment, and allowed space in her basement and home for meetings. Still searching for a permanent occupant for her house she formed The Katharine Smith Fund in 1987 to make the decision in case of her demise. Fortunately, Katharine lived to find her own solution. The Long Island Progressive Coalition accepted her property around the time of her 100th birthday and Katharine was most pleased that the home that had sheltered her family and guests and activities would continue to shelter those seeking to improve society and that she lived to attend the dedication of The Katharine Smith House in 1994.

Katharine’s legacy will continue as long as others share her concerns. In her own words delivered at the 100th birthday celebration, “There is so much to be done. My message to you younger people: keep courage; keep yourself ready to do what has to be done… Use your intellect to work… to find the directions in which our solutions will come. Support to the extent of your ability the agencies and fellowships which help to build a better world.