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.”
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 00:00
It was special night on Tuesday, July 15 at Glen Cove City Hall, as former Councilman Anthony Jimenez was voted in by a count of 7-0 to replace late Councilman Nick DiLeo on the City Council. He will take the seat of DiLeo, who passed away in April, until the election date on Nov. 4.
“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to replace my good friend, Nick DiLeo, on the City Council,” said Jimenez. “I will do my job to the best of my ability during my time with council.”
Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said he was honored to have Jimenez fill the position until the general election, which will take place in early November.
Saturday, 19 July 2014 00:00
The Village of Sea Cliff took the time to show area residents that July 4 is not just about BBQs and fireworks, but about patriotism and freedom. On the morning of July 4, under overcast skies, 300 or so people gathered in Sea Cliff to celebrate Independence Day.
The festivities started with Mayor Bruce Kennedy ringing the Liberty Bell on the green in front of the library. This was followed by Sara Garry and Ruben Shonik playing “Yankee Doodle” on the flute and drum with, Boy Scout Troop 43 marching behind them to present the colors and lead in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lesley Pryde Haley sang “The Star Spangled Banner” next.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Three members of the Glen Cove Big Red Boys Lacrosse Team were honored at the Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association Dinner on June 11.
Pictured are Ryan Perkins, Sean Peet and Phil Grella, who were awarded for both their play on the field and their work in the classroom. Ryan was named to the All-County Honorable Mention Team, Sean and Phil were named to the All-Conference Team. All three also received Academic All-Conference standing for their work in the classroom.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Glen Cove High School recently held its first-ever Athletics Wall of Fame Induction ceremony in the school’s athletic wing.
Wall of Fame inductees are varsity players who have been selected as All-County in their respective sport. This year, 12 Glen Cove students were named All-County, earning themselves an eight-by-ten photograph mounted and framed on the storied wall near the gymnasium. The Wall of Fame dates back to its first inductee in 1974.