Is the Woodmere Club Development Plan Moral?
To the Editor:
I read with fascination your interview with Efrem Gerszberg and Robert Weiss, the men who plan to build hundreds of new homes on the site of the Woodmere Golf Club. Having read page after page in which the two insist that their proposal is legal and that they will ultimately prevail, I ask them: Your plan may be legal, but is it moral? You speak of all the lawsuits you have filed, but is extreme litigiousness indicative of a moral approach? Or, rather, does it betray a single-minded intent to get one’s way?
Let’s examine the impact of the project. Asked about its negative effects upon traffic and the environment, Robert Weiss responded: “It is clear … that we meet every legal requirement for the approval of this project.” To which I say, “All well and good, but the fact that it may be legal does not make it right.” I cannot comment on the environmental aspect, but I, and most other area residents, can certainly assess the traffic component.
Even now, without the presence of almost 300 additional homes, Broadway is a parking lot almost every afternoon, both in Cedarhurst and in Woodmere (and often in Lawrence as well). Yet unless I am not reading the proposal correctly, most of the added traffic from additional cars will feed either onto Broadway or onto one of the streets that intersect Broadway. Neither alternative is palatable, because these Broadway feeder streets are also congested. Yet there will be no way for cars to exit the development except via Broadway or via one of these feeder streets. The impact will be palpable, and not in a good way.
And this is only during midweek. Once we hit Thursday and Friday, Cedarhurst today is overwhelmed by traffic, as residents shop for Shabbos. I don’t even try to park in the Gourmet Glatt lot on Thursday or Friday morning/afternoon. I settle for a spot near the LIRR, often hundreds of feet away from GG. What will be the impact of hundreds of additional shoppers looking to park?
Weiss and Gerszberg will not need to deal with this congestion, since they will continue to shop near their homes in New Jersey. However, for Far Rockaway / Five Towns residents, parking access to our shops will deteriorate further.
Weiss and Gerszberg insist that although they do not live here, they have contributed to local causes and have allowed free use of the Woodmere club for charity events. This is laudable, but it is also common practice for businessmen who seek cooperation from a neighborhood to portray themselves as civic-minded. This alone should not be a reason for a neighborhood to agree to a project that will harm its flow of life.
I am not saying that a solution cannot be found. I am saying that at the end of the day, Weiss and Gerszberg are developers with a profit motive. Our neighborhood is an institution with a lifestyle that should be preserved. When the profit motive of two men clashes with the lifestyle of an established neighborhood, the neighborhood’s integrity should have the upper hand. Again, what is legal is not necessarily moral.
Woodmere Club Proposal Anathema to Our Community
To the Editor,
I read, with horror, your interview with developers who plan to build 285 new homes on the Woodmere Club site.
On the one hand, your interview with developers Efram Gerszberg and Robert Weiss, succeeds in revealing that they feel legally justified in imposing their construction plans upon our community, and that they will utilize litigation to crush any opposition to their plans.
On the other hand, your article fails to reveal why there is so much genuine and reasonable community opposition to their plans.
For example, why didn’t you ask them:
- Do you understand that there is currently a very significant traffic congestion problem on Broadway and on Central Avenue?
- How would you feel if there suddenly appeared an additional 300 – 500 cars on the busiest street in your neighborhood?
Your 5TJT article seems to give a wink and a nod to plans that are anathema to Five Towns residents. You owe an apology to your readers and advertisers.
Dr. Jeffrey Galler
Willow View Estates Will Be ‘Toast of the Town’
I am writing this article from sunny Boca Raton, but I am a long time resident of Lawrence and still have a home there. I have followed the Woodmere Club saga for three years now. I am happy that it seems there is an end in sight, and I want to point out the obvious. There is a huge need for a 55 and older option for those residents looking to downsize but still stay near our grandchildren (and our children).
The option proposed by the owners of the property answers all of the concerns of local residents. This project will be the toast of the town when parents can move to be near their children while others can downsize but remain part of the community. The amenities at this project seem incredible. This is Florida living in NY.
I hope the politicians don’t screw up this opportunity to bring a huge asset to the community. If we get 284 homes or have to pay for open space that the owners are proposing to give us for free, they should all be voted out next elections.
Sam and Ev Prager
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