Opinion

After reading Nancy Stenger Letter to the Editor Jan. 18 edition, I just had to send in a reply. Nancy Stenger said, "Time and again, the evidence has shown that those who want Stop & Shop's supermarket far outweigh the significantly smaller minority that is opposed to this project. And support for the project has continued to grow, not the other way around."

I say, not so, At the public hearing held on Nov. 16, 2004, the official record and Meeting Minutes will show that Stop & Shop launched Citizens for a New Liberty (CFNL) I would say the word launched was used instead of put up the seed money and is funding it. The record will also show that (CFNL) has 1,045 residents who are in support of Stop & Shop application. (Official record and Meeting Minutes pages 83 and 85).

That same official record will also show that the Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale, Inc. (CCAF) a nonprofit, non-partisan neighborhood organization dedicated to representing the ordinary citizens and homeowners of Farmingdale handed in petitions with 1,189 signatures. (Official record and Meeting Minutes page 97). The math will show more opposition than support.

Now let's all keep it in mind that when CCAF and CFNL did this the Liberty Site was a big eyesore and a visual blight on this community that had about 200,000 square feet of dilapidated industrial building. (Official record and Meeting Minutes page 16) I would have to say most Citizens looked at the Stop & Shop application as a way to clean up the Liberty Site. So I felt that support was not true support but people saying, "Hey you know a supermarket is better than what's there now, because what's there now is disgusting!"

Well here we are, Jan. 2008 the dilapidated industrial building is gone and the environmental cleanup of this site is just months away from being done over 30 years to get to this point in time. (Thanks to the hard work of the Oyster Bay Town Board and the Farmingdale community there is light at the end of the tunnel).

So what does all this mean? Very little, the population of Farmingdale is over 32,000. The Oyster Bay Town Board job here is to weigh all the evidence and ultimately make a decision that is governed by the standard of law and the rule of law. Support and opposition by a community is just a way of gauging what may be right for that community. For the Special Use Permit that is needed there are some criteria that has to be satisfied as far as the impacts on real estate, traffic, community character and so on. The official record will show that this Stop & Shop application is not right for the Liberty Site.

The Town of Oyster Bay has been in existence since 1653 and has grown into one of the nicest places in the nation to live and to raise a family because the Oyster Bay Town Board does its job and makes a decision that is governed by the standard of law and the rule of law.

In closing Nancy Stenger said, "The bottom line is that Stop & Shop is a good fit for Farmingdale. The community sorely needs a modern supermarket and the majority of the residents want it." I don't think so, While I acknowledge the need to redevelop this site I believe that this proposed project will create substantial negative impacts on the Farmingdale community.

If you want that big modern supermarket, go on the computer and you will find out that the closest Stop & Shop stores to the 11735 zip code are Massapequa Park three miles and Amityville three miles, King Kullen Bethpage three miles Waldbaum North Massapequa three miles, Waldbaum, King Kullen and Stop & Shop Levittown four miles. Let's not forget what we have here in Farmingdale now: Waldbaums 2/10 of a mile, Pat's Farms 8/10 of a mile, King Kullen 8/10 of a mile, Compare Foods 9/10 of a mile, Fairway foods 1 1/4 miles, a proposed Stew Leonard's 1.5 miles and Pathmark 1.7 miles. Do we really need another supermarket in the Farmingdale area?

I say no we need something better. Long Island is experiencing the greatest growth in jobs in the lowest paying jobs and a decline in the highest paying jobs. Bring Something to Farmingdale with the highest paying jobs so our children can live here.

Long Island continues to diversify, age and lose young adults as housing affordability worsens. Twenty-one percent of the population reports having a very difficult time paying rent or mortgage. Only 17 percent of housing units on Long Island are rental. Bring Farmingdale something like Next Generation and Golden Age housing.

Let's do something good for Farmingdale and remove all the years of bad we have had with the Liberty Site.

Michael Grello

Past President of The Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale (CCAF)


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