Some residents of Westbury are mobilizing a grassroots opposition to the proposed sale of Storm Basin #51 by Nassau County.
The storm basin, also known as the Carman Avenue Sumps, is composed of approximately 30 acres of land consisting of two large twin basins and one smaller basin, adjacent to the Bowling Green Water Supply Pumping Station and Water Holding Tank in Westbury. Residents Lorraine Bauer and Joy MacLeod, whose homes abut the sump, have sent out 600 fliers urging their neighbors to oppose the sale of the property, because they feel it would result in over-development of their suburban community, and have an adverse environmental affect. The proposal is part of an idea to sell sump property around the county, first introduced by County Executive Thomas Gulotta in 1997, to alleviate fiscal debt.
According to Bauer, the storm basin is surrounded on virtually three sides by approximately 100 single family homes, and there are more than 150 homes across the street. She noted that following distribution of the fliers, she and MacLeod received an influx of phone calls from neighbors expressing similar concerns. Bauer added that the county has already received a $10 million development bid on the property.
"We don't want the sale, and we want them to propose some type of legislation to permanently preserve this, so that every three years we don't have to keep going through this. The larger ramification is that, if they're selling recharge basins across Long Island, they're jeopardizing all of Nassau County's future water supply," said Bauer. "Because storm basins have a purpose. They're not just empty land. They are catch basins, they are to catch waterfall and the runoff, and they filter through all the pollutants that go down into the water table."
Bauer also feels that the underground contamination emanating from the 13 hazardous waste sites of the New Cassel Industrial Area, which includes the Bowling Green Water District, is a reason not to develop the nearby sump.
She added that a possible housing development on the land would cause increased traffic and school enrollment. She added, "The traffic congestion will involve the whole community. Whatever effect it has on the school district will involve the entire school district, and the tax structure for the school district."
As of press time, Bauer and MacLeod were planning to publicly oppose the sale at the May 7 meeting of the Nassau County Legislature. This follows their public opposition to the plans before the legislature two weeks ago. In addition, they had also planned to meet with County Executive Gulotta to discuss the matter this week.