Since its earliest days, Long Island has been wrestling with a dilemma: How do you manage growth without destroying the character of a community?
Babylon Village is among the localities that have done a good job. Its quiet residential neighborhoods surround a vibrant downtown whose mix of shops, restaurants and bars draws visitors both near and far. But now some residents are complaining about a proposal to convert a shuttered movie theater into a performing arts center, citing worries about traffic, parking and noise. Village officials should work with the father-and-son team making the pitch to address concerns that are legitimate, but this proposal warrants approval.
A successful performing arts center is a magnet that helps other businesses, and Babylon officials rightly point to Bay Shore, Northport, Huntington and Patchogue as examples. They also say they fielded no complaints about parking when the movie theater in its various incarnations had as many as 1,000 seats; the performing arts center is slated to have 450. Worries about proposed midnight shows are more understandable. Reducing their number and nature would be wise. Babylon already has problems with boisterous bar patrons causing late-night damage to hanging flower pots and garbage cans, and the performing arts center should not add to that. The village also is wisely exploring ideas to restrict parking on residential streets that already see Friday and Saturday night overflows and to start a shuttle from the train station.
Babylon Village has a wonderful downtown that could become even better. This is not the time to put on the brakes.
— The editorial board