Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why I Oppose The CGPOA "Top Of The Bay" Petition

The Cherry Grove Property Owners Association (CGPOA), an appointed group chosen by the board of the Cherry Grove Community Organization (CGCAI), is asking Cherry Grove homeowners to sign a petition requesting Brookhaven Town to undertake a preliminary evaluation with the final goal of having Cherry Grove residents, through their association, purchase the currently vacant "Top Of The Bay" property, demolish it, and use the property for "dock expansion." The acquisition would be financed through a bond issue and would result in higher property taxes on Cherry Grove homeowners. I oppose this idea and will not sign the petition for the reasons outlined below.

1. The Property Owners Association has not provided even the most minimal outline or preliminary conceptual sketch of how the "Top Of The Bay" property could be converted to an expanded dock after demolition. I am hard pressed to visualize how the 15 or so feet of bay front occupied by this property could be utilized as additional dock space. In addition, if the lot currently occupied by the structure were to be used for freight staging or unloading, this could represent more of an eyesore than an improvement. This area is part of the first vista that both residents and visitors see upon entering Cherry Grove. Do we really want to welcome people to Cherry Grove within the confines of an expanded freight docking facility?

2. While it has been allowed to fall into disrepair, the "Top Of The Bay" structure has been a Cherry Grove landmark for many years. I have been told by a reputable Cherry Grove Real Estate Broker that a private commercial concern is interested in purchasing the property. This concern is prepared to rehabilitate the structure and utilize it for shops and businesses. However, the bank that owns the property is now holding out for more money because they are expecting an offer from the CGPOA. This structure has historically been a part of the downtown business community. Let business interests purchase it and rehabilitate it. Why should residents pick up the tab for a structure that has been profitable for a number of businesses over the years?

3. Any invitation to Brookhaven Town to increase Cherry Grove property taxes should be thought of as a last resort to be used only in case of emergency or dire need. We all have been warned of the potential of a major storm hitting Fire Island. It's a question of when, not if, we have been told. If a storm hits and our hamlet's municipal structures are severely damaged (the dock, boardwalks, etc.) we may be forced to pay higher taxes to finance reconstruction. Given the fact that some homeowners are retirees and on fixed incomes, we should not request or encourage Brookhaven Town to raise our taxes unnecessarily. We need to conserve our resources in case of emergency. The condition of the "Top Of The Bay" is not such an emergency.

4. The community is already struggling to maintain the Community House and the Doctor's House. In addition, the existing dock structure is in need of repair and maintenance. Why are we looking to undertake yet more debt and an additional capital project at a time when we should be concentrating on maintaining what we already have?

5. This proposal affects ALL residents of Cherry Grove, not just those who are members of the CGCAI/CGPOA. All residents should have been notified by mail of this proposal and given the opportunity, at a special town meeting dedicated to this topic ONLY, to discuss and comment upon the proposal. Not everyone attends CGCAI meetings or pays close attention to notices posted on bulletin boards.

I have no doubt that our friends and neighbors who are responsible for this proposal have the best intentions. However, I am not convinced that this proposal is in the best interests of Cherry Grove homeowners.


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