2004-09-10 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter A Little Bit Of This And That, And The Other Thing Too

With Beverly Baxter
A Little Bit Of This And That, And The Other Thing Too

I was delighted to read in last week’s edition of The Wave a Letter to the Editor from a Richard Veneziano regarding the Rockaway Homeowners and Residents Association’s decision to dismantle the dune on Beach 124 Street, and I’d like to respond. Richard, while I may entirely agree with you and share your position regarding the important function dunes serve in protecting the beach and that this particular dune should not have been destroyed,

I do, however, cordially disagree with your suggestion that the Board of Directors be singled out, held culpable, personally embarrassed, publicly dissed, along with their children’s children and their little dogs too! Indeed, the membership, as well as the general public, should be entitled to a copy of the minutes; however, your notion that names, addresses, photographs, etc... be printed in the paper is mean-spirited, serves little constructive purpose, and only furthers the divisiveness that has already drawn such a wedge in this community. Since I am equally appalled and share in your anger that the dune was removed, I can understand your impulse to shine a glaring spotlight upon those of whom were responsible for the decision and fix the blame. However, I feel we need a collective alliance to fix and address the real problem which is of a much broader scope.

There will always be some who will guise their service on a board to further a personal agenda. Their intent may not even be that deliberate. I can tell you, that with regard to the Beach 124 Street dune, the resident that fought for its demise was indeed self-serving in his intent, but he was misinformed. For him, it was a matter of aesthetics. He simply didn’t like the way it looked! In addition, he was to a great extent reckless with his position on the board in that he didn’t bother to become informed on the dune’s importance before insisting on its demise.  Richard, you would like to know, and see published, the name of the gentleman who lobbied to nullify the initial vote to keep the dune. You want to fix the blame. Perhaps we need to address and fix the problem. 

The state of the beach should not be decided by an appointed few or by the general membership of a civic organization. I sat there in shock and disbelief during the initial meeting when the representative from the parks department told the board that he will “do whatever the board decides”. Incidentally, Richard, that was the meeting where the initial vote carried “our way” for the dune to remain. Although it may be of little consolation, in other words, “we voted for it before we voted against it”! 

However, it’s not a matter to be decided “our way” or “their way” (whomever “they” may be), it’s a matter for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to make its recommendation to us; and until we seek to solicit and adhere to its recommendations, we will continue to yield toward making reckless misinformed decisions that continue to cause a further divide among us. Richard, I am not mitigating the blame. I just ask that you consider that it may be misdirected.

***I was speaking with Les Lerner of The Beechwood Organization, the developers of Arverne by-the-Sea, and addressed many of your concerns regarding the Certificates of Occupancy.

I know from being in the construction industry that a few weeks’ delay is hardly indicative that construction is in any way off schedule. The C of O’s will be issued in the coming weeks, after some finishing touches and final inspections are made. Of the thirty-two homes in the first phase, some are ready, while others are not. Some are in the first group, while others are last, and there are those in the in between.

Although the builder understands people’s concerns, as well as their impatience, the last four, five, or six weeks are the most tumultuous, aggravating, and there is great anticipation; he states that when people do move into their beautiful new oceanfront homes, it will all be worth it. Les has assured me that all is going well with construction, the Building Department, and that everything is on schedule. Construction on Phase II, Palmer’s Landing, which will be comprised of one hundred and twenty-one homes, is well underway. According to Mr. Lerner, “Construction is flying. 

Foundations are underway; and when it is all completed, Arverne by-the-Sea will be realized as the wonderful large oceanfront community that it is intended to be.” 

Many of you have asked about the opening of the model homes. Les explains that “since we are adhering to a lottery system, the models are closed and to be used by those whom we are processing through the lottery first. They won’t be open to the general public until the process is complete. This is the concept of a lottery system.”   

***A special note of special appreciation to the I.C.U staff at Peninsula Hospital. I extend particular gratitude to Marybeth Brunner, Laura Rayder, Mary Burke, Heather Lobodee, Dr. Calleja, and Dr. David Steiner, Chief of Neurology.

You are to be so commended for your relentless compassion and care.

You are each an asset to this most noble profession of which you’ve chosen to serve.

We are grateful, and oh so fortunate, that you are in our midst.

***See you.. at The Rockaway Music and Arts Council annual Fall Crafts Festival on the fairgrounds at Riis Park!    

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