Redistricting keeps Plandomes together

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The Plandomes are staying together after all.

The Town of North Hempstead approved a redistricting plan this week that will allow its residential villages of Plandome, Plandome Manor and Plandome Heights to stay in District 6, thereby avoiding a townwide council redistricting shuffle.

In June, a nine-member redistricting panel recommended moving Plandome Heights, a village of 1,005 people, from its longtime home in District 6 to District 4, to accommodate population shifts. But residents in Plandome Heights objected, arguing they were being separated from the Plandomes and other "communities of interest" such as Manhasset and Port Washington.

"Our natural home is here," said Kenneth Riscica, mayor of Plandome Heights. The communities there -- many are waterfront ones -- share similar needs and resources, he explained. "We have the most in common: emergencies, flooding."

So, more than 600 residents signed a petition, and mayors and community activists expressed their dissent with town officers.

The outcome, until Tuesday, was uncertain. "Our village is very small, so we were feeling very vulnerable in the process," Riscica said.

The deal to keep the Plandomes together was unexpected, said Frank Moroney, chairman of the North Hempstead Republican Committee. Republicans objected that few party members were represented on the redistricting committee, and in turn, recently floated a counterproposal, which they had planned to present during a public hearing at Tuesday's town meeting.

In it, the Plandomes would have stayed together. But it also proposed moving heavily Republican communities into District 2, which is represented by a Democrat, Thomas Dwyer.

But late Tuesday, Moroney was told that Republican North Hempstead Town Board members Dina De Giorgio and Angelo Ferrara had met with Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, a Democrat, who indicated that he and the board were willing to move Plandome Heights back to District 6.

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Moroney then scrapped plans to speak at the public hearing. "At that point, knowing that the votes weren't there, when you get something you didn't anticipate, you say thank you and shut up."

"I'm surprised that they went for the deal," Moroney said. "It permanently makes the 6th District a Republican seat."

De Giorgio, who represents the 6th District, said she had hoped the council maps were arrived at differently, but was happy to keep Plandome Heights.

"Welcome back!" she said, to a roomful of applause.

"We're a happy little village right now," said Marion Endrizzi, president of the Plandome Heights Civic Association. "It was a long road."

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