The Villa at Glen Cove has become a lightning rod for opposition to the building of high-density, mega residential communities in our town. Thanks to a handful of grass roots activists, the call went out to an otherwise uninformed populace, that this issue needed their immediate attention. To the surprise of the administration and the Planning Board, We the People came out in huge numbers ready for battle, and it was about time.
The bottom line objection is, this project is just too big. Despite the developer’s assurances that it will have no negative impact on our lives, We the People know better than to trust the word of a developer over common sense objections of the people. Our resistance stems from years of watching Glen Cove fall victim to many stupid, ill-advised projects that failed to produce the promised benefits for anyone except the developer and the politicians. Who was involved in pushing through the Village Square, a worthless development that is now being torn down for another project that has questionable value? Another example would be the Avalons, that were supposed to breathe new life into our downtown, but didn’t and won’t–another testament to the greed and poor leadership that has plagued this town for too long.
With that said, I reject Mr. Livingston’s contention that the revitalization of the downtown depends largely on increasing the number of Glen Cove residents. Were that true, how would he explain a thriving downtown in past years with a lower population than is currently recorded? It’s an empty argument meant to bolster an unpopular concept and a poor investment, but it bears no connection to facts.
I bring up this point because it seems to me that Mr. Livingston and company didn’t do their homework. He should have known that there is a rebellious streak in our population when it comes to unelected officials, without any accountability to the public, riding roughshod over our lives. He should have known that both Avalons were built without widespread support from the people of this town and we still complain of it today wishing we had been more relentless in voicing our objections. Glen Cove is a town, not a city despite the veneer of political implications. Most of us will accept the kind of growth that recognizes the difference between the two. We are not against change, just the current proposal of the Villa as it now stands. Were this construction more in keeping with a small town image that is proud of its deep historical roots, I doubt that the opposition would have been as aggressive.
I believe that Mr. Livingston has been given bad advice that has put his proposal in jeopardy. He should scrap this mega project and begin again with a much scaled down version that has a better chance of garnering public support. I would also advise him to talk with the people of this town to learn about our concerns and vision, he may learn something. We are not troglodytes; we appreciate change if it leads to improvements the town could be proud of. I would suggest Mr. Livingston disregard the advice he’s been given thus far and rethink the concept.
Another option for him to consider is to cut his losses, walk away and write it off, but in my opinion, that would not produce a win-win outcome. We can still make lemonade out of this lemon.