Future use of St Paul’s Property: No Consensus Exists

Kemp Hannon

February 02, 2009

Garden City residents expressed their opinion on this topic during December in several polls and surveys sponsored by the property owners associations. Both the polls and the participants were an impressive display of democracy at work. The results, as reported by the Garden City News, can be obtained by clicking here.

St. Pauls is owned by the Village of Garden City. Generally state law allows the land to be used for any municipal purpose. Uses beyond such purposes require legislation. An additional aspect of the St Pauls property is its designation as parkland; that was done by virtue of two separate processes involving this land.

Change in use from parkland also requires legislation, invoking a decades-long set of New York State protocols and policy considerations: click here.

As State Senator, the fifteen years of debate about the use of the property, the multiple proposals offered and the public discussion often led to discussions about the possibility of State legislation. The various nature of the proposals, the various “generations” of the discussions and the deeply held positions by different groups of Village residents, gave rise to my formulating the standard that State legislation should only be entertained if there was a consensus of the residents in favor of the specific proposal.

In light of the vote and in light of the other surveys and polls, I judge the the possibilty of State legislation as not having a attained a consensus of the residents. The GC News results show the demolition option gained 45.4% of the vote, the mothballing option gained 37.1% of the vote and the Avalon Bay option gained 17.4% of the vote.

Obviously my comments only address one part of the situation. At this point it is essential the community works with one another in considering the next steps.