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Dejana Industries plan in Port Washington derailed

North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio (R-Port Washington)

North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio (R-Port Washington) speaks during an interview in Port Washington. (April 15, 2013) Credit: Steven Pfost

The North Hempstead Town Board, faced with the prospect of hundreds of angry residents repeatedly amassing against a proposed industrial development in Port Washington, has voted to effectively kill the plan by removing the application from its calendar.

Supervisor Jon Kaiman said at a town board meeting Tuesday that numerous concerns from the surrounding community over the proposal by Dejana Industries to build a roughly 56,000-square-foot industrial building on town-owned land on West Shore Road prompted him to make the recommendation to adjourn the matter, rather than setting a future public hearing on it in a larger venue.

"This is clearly a volatile issue that has emerged over the last few weeks," Kaiman said.

The move met with praise from the audience, which packed the town board room and the adjacent hall, but received strenuous objections from Dan Deegan, a Uniondale attorney representing Dejana.

"It's a good project, and everybody thought it was a good project until three weeks ago," Deegan said, referring to community opposition that mobilized last month. "I don't think it's fair."

The development would have consolidated Dejana's two Manorhaven sites into one on West Shore Road, near two residential communities. The company provides garbage removal and street-sweeping, among other services, and would have housed its maintenance, offices, manufacturing and other operations at the new location.

Dejana can reapply, but the process would start from scratch and take months, Kaiman said yesterday.

"We're going to ask Mr. Dejana and you and his team to take another look at the other options that are out there," Kaiman said at the meeting, adding he knew it meant the firm could leave town.

Deegan said Wednesday that the company is weighing its options, but that the town's action "denies Dejana due process."

Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, who represents the area, last week asked Dejana to pull its proposal in light of environmental and other concerns.

Rob Calica, president of the Harbor View at Port Washington homeowners association, lauded the town's move, saying that neighbors were "pleased and relieved" at the outcome.

"An absurdly bad idea was quickly and wisely rejected by the town, which never should have considered it," he said.

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