Harbor Isle hearing set for Oct. 1

Hempstead town to vote on lifting covenant


The Town of Hempstead board will hold a hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 1 to decide whether or not a proposed development in the Harbor Isle section of Island Park will get its approval to start cleaning up the former toxic site that was Cibro Oil and to build a housing development on the site.

Local developer Posillico, in partnership with the Virginia-based Avalon Bay Communities, plans to build a development called the Battery at Harbor Isle & Avalon Yacht View in the southern corner of Harbor Isle, a community in Island Park. The $90 million project would include 140 rental apartments and 32 condominiums, and most of the condos having top-end amenities such as boat slips.

The Town of Hempstead, however, has a covenant on the books that limits the number of rental units in any new development to 10 percent of the total number of units to be built.

The Oct. 1 hearing will begin the decision-making process to decide if the covenant will be lifted by the town to allow the 140 rental units

The hearing is liable to be a contentious one. Local 32 BJ of the service employees union has distributed flyers asking residents to oppose the plan because Avalon Bay has had safety issues at previous sites and does not utilize unionized labor. Some residents have previously opposed the plan because they believe that it will bring too many people and too much traffic to the isolated Harbor Isle community.

Business groups, such as the Island Park Chamber of Commerce have backed the plan from the beginning because officials there believe that the plan will bring jobs and much-needed expendable income to the stores and businesses in the Island Park community.

Officials at Posillico had previously given the board a deadline — the end of June — at which he and his partner would walk away from the project if the town had not lifted the covenant. He said that the deadline was necessary because of constraints placed on him by the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The 11-acre site, which formerly hosted the Cibro oil transfer station, has been vacant for more than a decade and is part of the cleanup program, which was set up to remediate toxic waste sites such as Cibro.

That deadline came and went, however, and the partners, joined by the Island Park business interests petitioned the board to hear the appeal to lift the mandate and to approve the building plan.