Protesters push back against plan for homeless shelter at old Jericho motel
A community has been left divided over a plan to turn an old hotel in Jericho into housing for homeless families.
The plan is to convert an old Hampton Inn at the intersection of Brush Hollow Road and Jericho Turnpike into transitional housing for 80 Nassau families who are currently homeless.
A group protested the plan at Oyster Bay Town Hall Tuesday.
College student Sivan Komatsu says she is in favor of the project and cannot believe how her community has reacted to it.
"Their concern lies in protecting their wealth, their property values, their power and their privilege," says Komatsu. "Seeing signs that say no to a homeless shelter all across my neighborhood, it's just disgusting to me. I mean I don't know how anybody could be opposed to that and I don't know how anybody could be so proudly opposed to it."
But others feel they were left in the dark on the project.
"The realities of this case are clear. We knew nothing about this. The town knew nothing about this. They were rushing in the developer and the county to open the shelter without doing any studies," says Marc Albert.
"I think it's a safety issue. I think it's a legal issue. I think there's a question about what kind of impact this will have in the community over the course of years," says Jennifer Bartanov.
The project is on hold for now after a New York State Supreme Court judge issued a temporary restraining order. An appeal is already underway.
In the meantime, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino says, "We have taken legal action that continues to protect the integrity of our zoning ordinances - and by doing so, we're protecting not only the current and future residents of Jericho, but the entire Town of Oyster Bay at large. We will continue to prosecute this lawsuit."
A county spokesperson says the county is legally required to provide shelter and services to eligible residents, and that it supports efforts to open and operate the Jericho facility in order to provide services for people in need.