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Residents Voice Concerns Over Mall Plan

On August 20, residents from all the communities in the Town of Oyster Bay will have a voice in the future of Syosset and Jericho. 

 

A town-wide voter referendum will decide whether a 54-acre plot of town-owned land right by the Long Island Expressway can be sold to a consortium of three developers—Simon Property Group, Castagna Properties and the Albanese Organization—which has indicated it plans a mixed-use facility, including apartments and shops. 

 

Another developer, Taubman Centers, currently owns a smaller, neighboring property and has been battling the town for 18 years to get a special permit to build a mall there.

Taubman has indicated it wants to bid on the town-owned site, which would allow it to expand its plans, and sued to force this referendum.   

 

Richard Turkisher, director of the Jericho’s Birchwood Civic Association, a community group at the forefront of the fight to prevent the mall, has plenty of reasons to vote “yes.”

Among his concerns: pollution, traffic—there’s a school nearby—and the strain on town resources. He questions what need this plan would fill. 

 

“A shopping mall is very unnecessary in our community,” Turkisher says. “There are too many malls as it is. Just 15 minutes from here is the Walt Whitman Mall and Roosevelt Field.” Planning experts note that when new malls open, they often cannibalize other malls as well as the downtowns, pulling merchants from one site to another rather than bringing in new businesses. 

 

Stewart Lieman, who works in the real estate business, says he doesn’t see how a mall will make money in the current economy. If it fails, the remaining structure would become a blight. 

 

“I see a lot of local stores and businesses with ‘for sale’ signs on them in the area,” he said. “I don’t get how they’ll make money here.” He’s concerned a mall will drag down property values. 

 

Mall proponents say the venue will generate jobs and tax revenue. That’s certainly true. Robin Weissbratten, a long-time Nassau County resident who lives near the two sites and agrees that Long Island is “overmalled,” counters that while such retail jobs might be good for part-time retirees or second incomes, they don’t pay enough to meet the local cost of living. “We’d be better off with new affordable senior housing or houses that are affordable for young adults on Long Island,” she said. 

 

And while a mall would generate tax revenue, John Mullins, director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts, has been studying mall development since the 1980s and says the residential component of mixed-use makes it probably a better bet overall. 

 

“[A mall vs mixed-use] might be a wash in terms of tax revenue, but you’d probably gain because of the investment power of people who live there,” he explains. “The value is greater with residential, and you clearly benefit on traffic. Plus, reinvestment in the property is not so dependent on sales of the stores.” 

 

Barbara Krieger, another Birchwood association director who lives near the site, says “There are much better uses for that property.”  Krieger would prefer to see a computer company incubator, which would offer resources for businesses, or something comparable. Mullins also says that large vacant properties near the highway--rare in well-developed areas--are prime locations for office parks or similar high-end business facilities, which would be more likely to bring jobs paying $100,000 a year. He advises: “Don’t take your best spots and kill the golden goose.”


News

Members of the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club and their families will be treated to a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday, Nov. 25, an event that has become an annual tradition for local families. 

 

This will be the 14th year that Andrea Correale, the president of Elegant Affairs Caterers, has donated this festive dinner, which in the past has served more 250 adults and children with a full turkey with all the trimmings followed by the always-fun ice cream bar. 

 

I can’t even believe it’s been 14 years,” says Correale. “And so many of the same people come back year after year.”

Members of the Glen Cove Police and Volunteer Fire Departments, along with 200 citizens, the mayor, City Council and County Legislative members turned out on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at the Doughboy Monument on the Glen Cove Library lawn to honor its veterans.  Leading the ceremony was VFW James Donohue Post 347 Commander Joe Lavery. The morning events started with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Rocco. 


Sports

The Glen Cove High School girls basketball team was invited to participate in the prestigious KSA Holiday Basketball Tournament that will be held in Orlando, FL, this December. The tournament brings to the court teams from all over the United States that would otherwise not be competing. It is held in the finest professional and amateur athletic venues around the nation with teams seeded into brackets that will provide an appropriate level of competition. 

The North Shore Women’s Cross Country Team won the Nassau County Class I Championship for the eighth consecutive year. They will be competing in the State Qualifier Competition at Bethpage State Park this month.


Calendar

Annual Shop Glen Cove Showcase - November 19

Native American Feast - November 22-23

NSHS Fall Musical - November 21-22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com