But there was an elephant in the room at that meeting, and the most significant question about the future of this village was missing from the coverage and from the survey of why people come to our village. Just remember, where a survey is concerned, the answers you get depend on the questions you ask.
So, what did we find out? That people want more year-round business in our business district? That people want more affordable restaurants in our village?
But how the hell do you expect to attract year-round business or additional year-round restaurants when the Epley bunch (12 years!) and the Michael Irving administration (two years!) have caused an exodus of some two-thirds of the year-round population of our village? The remaining one-third of our year-round folks will pack up much faster, unless the new administration backs up a young mayor with guts, with vision, and with the education to understand what it will take to make the bleeding stop.
It’s a tough job. And, no, it can’t be done with affordable housing. The people we’re losing are the salt-of-the-earth middle class of our village who had hoped to pass on their little three- and four-bedroom houses to their kids, most of whom fled before the current batch of stalwart residents began to give up.
I bought my little year-round house some 35 years ago, when I was newly divorced, with four teenagers, and wanted to establish roots in a safe, middle-class neighborhood of year-round people, while continuing to work in Manhattan. We had, as neighbors, a village trustee, doctor, plumber and lawyer — in brief, the folks who are the thriving and stable part of any community. They provided the most volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance personnel for our village.
Today, starting late September, early October, the tiny streets of our subdivision are empty. The place is a cemetery until next year’s season. There are now obscenely large seven- and eight-bedroom houses, hulking over the backyards of year-round folks, pretending to be “estate properties,” just because they are on the old potato fields of Leo Rosko, which he developed for other folks like him.
It’s possible that the speculative overbuild of McMansions will accomplish what 12 years of my warning letters did not. But I don’t think we can afford to wait for disaster in the housing market to save this village. It’s one minute to midnight.
Let’s hear the voice of the people! Remember, it’s the people who voted for you.
Evelyn KonradAttorney at law
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