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.”
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Children at Gribbin Elementary
School prepared for Thanksgiving last week by singing songs, writing what they were thankful for on the table cloths, and making a poster of what they are thankful for.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
Visitors to Nassau County’s Garvies Point Museum and Preserve were transported back in time on Nov. 23 and 24 when the museum held its Annual Thanksgiving Native American Feast. More than 1,000 people attended the two-day event, which showcased the lives of Native Americans. Numerous hands-on activities gave participants the opportunity to try their luck at spear throwing, corn grinding, cooking over an open fire and pottery making.
The feast was the perfect outing for several Cub Scout troops and group home organizations as well as for families from across Long Island. For Sea Cliff siblings Zeke and Uma it was a special day at a place they visit often and have strong ties to. Their grandfather had been one of the museum’s early volunteers. For the Ferrera family of Islip it was a new adventure. Renee Ferrera is a social studies teacher who had taken her classes on trips to Garvies in the past and always enjoyed it.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
With grit, determination and all-out teamwork, the Friends Academy Boys Varsity Soccer team completed their quest for a third state soccer championship, defeating a tough Lansing High School, 1-0, in the New York Class C State Championships.
Both teams kept the game at a tight 0-0, until 20 minutes into the second half, when a throw-in from senior Patrick Moodhe (Manhasset) connected with the head of senior Jon Nierenberg (Sands Point) for the game’s only goal.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
It has been an amazing season for the Midget Cardinals team in Glen Cove. Undefeated all season, they are headed to the Super Bowl, where they will be playing against Brentwood for the Championship.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, the Cardinals Midget team won the coin toss and got to play the final playoff game of the season at home. Fans were out and cheering them on as they played Roosevelt - the other undefeated team in the league.