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Letter: NCPC Should Be Aware of Alternate Development Plan for Cerro Wire Site

I am writing in response to the article: “NC Planning Commission Holds Public Hearing” that ran in your Nov. 26 edition. For starters, from comments made by a Taubman representative at the hearing, one might conclude that the mall is coming, and sometime soon, when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. The most recent court decision rendered in June 2009 specifically directed the developer to resubmit a new set of plans along with an updated environmental impact study, upholding both the Town of Oyster Bay and the community’s position in opposing the project.

Since then, Taubman has remained quiet although it’s becoming increasingly clear that the company is preparing to take the next steps in trying to advance its mall plan in the very near future. Once that happens, the process will likely take quite a while. And, rest assured, the community, led by the Cerro Wire Coalition, representing more than 40,000 Town of Oyster Bay homeowners and 6,000 small businesses, is well prepared to continue the battle that it has successfully waged against the proposed mall for 15 years and counting.

As far as the Nassau County Planning Commission is concerned, I find it disconcerting that neither its chairman nor any of its members for that matter seem to be aware of the alternate development proposal that our organization has been advancing since 2007. Instead of a mega-mall, our idea calls for a smart-growth, mixed use project that would include sorely needed senior and next generation housing, a boutique-style hotel, office space and a small retail component, just the kind of development that many experts have said is desirable for the region and the type that fits a theme that is constantly mentioned in the draft master plan.

Incidentally, this concept is one that is strongly supported by the community, would put thousands of building trades workers back on the job and provide tens of millions of dollars more in economic benefit over the long haul than the mall, according to a study conducted by Martin Cantor, one of Long Island’s leading economists and director of Dowling College’s LI Economic and Social Policy Institute. Hopefully, now that this issue has been brought to its attention, the NC Planning Commission will decline to add the Taubman project to its final document and instead include the alternate development proposal as a viable use for the 39-acre parcel.

Warren Church

Chairman, Alternate Development Committee, Cerro Wire Coalition