Monday, September 10, 2007

One Town's Dirty Laundry

Uniondale Residents Battle To Hold Back The Tide -- Or Is It The Wisk?

Yet another laundromat is on the drawing board for the unincorporated area of Uniondale, where there are already more than 700 self-service washers and dryers, more per capita than there are self-storage facilities. Well, almost.

Why the need for so many laundromats in the suburban communities of the Town of Hempstead, where single family homes dot the landscape?

Have all of our washers and dryers gone on the fritz? Do we really have that much dirty laundry -- outside of Hempstead Town Hall, that is?

Could it be -- and likely, it is -- that more laundromats are just what the market will bear? A market supersaturated with families residing in illegal basement apartments, cellar and attic units out of code, and, when all else fails, on the streets, invisible to both Town and County?

How many laundromats? How many storage facilities? How many transients and street people before someone, anyone, realizes that building more laundromats is not a solution, but merely a telltale symptom of an underlying condition that threatens the very future of suburbia?

If history serves as a guide, the Town of Hempstead Zoning Board may groan and grumble, but, in the end, they will relent -- and Uniondale will be host to yet another laundromat.

Well, look at the bright side. If "it all comes out in the wash," Hempstead will not only be America's largest township, but America's cleanest, as well.
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Meanwhile, back in Elmont. . .

The "visioning" process continues this evening in Elmont, with the focus on transportation, infrastructure, and safety. 7 PM to 9 PM at the Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont.

Listen carefully (especially to what is not said), add your two cents, but please, don't hold your breath for anything substantive to happen -- at least not in this lifetime.

Note, interestingly, that ALL of the visioning sessions are to be held BEFORE the November elections, with NONE scheduled after. Hmmmm. . .

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Uniondale residents fight plan for another laundry

A group of Uniondale residents are hoping that a proposal to open a 24-hour mega-self-service laundry in their neighborhood washes out.

Nearly 40 people expressed opposition to the proposal at a hearing yesterday before the Town of Hempstead Zoning Board of Appeals. The seven-member panel will decide whether to grant special permission to developer Eddy Yacoub to use a residential and commercial property on Jerusalem Avenue to hold 74 washers and 84 dryers.Yacoub and his attorney said that the business will benefit the community.

"It provides a useful service for people in the area by providing a clean, safe environment for them to wash their clothes," said Robert Marks, a real estate expert for the developers.Yacoub said there would be attendants at the facility during the hours of operation, which they said they would agree to cut down from 24 hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Also, there would be security cameras outside.

Critics, who brought to the hearing a petition with 237 signatures, said the business would attract more renters to an area already saturated with them.

"The feeling of the community is that they [the owners] know there's a big illegal rental population in the community and they're catering to it," said Rockville Centre attorney Michael Sepe, who represents some of the neighbors.

Residents at the hearing said there are about 700 self-service washers and dryers in Uniondale. Those who showed up at the hearing said the business would attract more loitering and littering to an area that has gang activity.

"Right now, they're hanging out outside, across the street," said resident Heidi Sanft. "This gives them another, larger parking lot to hang out in, and the [laundry] is warm in the winter. If it's open late, it's the perfect spot for them."

Yacoub, who owns another self-service laundry in the Village of Hempstead, said he would never allow that.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

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