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Town says no to Harbor Isle development

Unanimous vote on $90 million project

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More than a month after a contentious hearing, the Hempstead Town Board on Nov. 12 unanimously rejected a proposed $90 million development of 32 condominiums and 140 rental units on a former oil transfer site in Harbor Isle. The vote was 4-0.

At the October hearing, more than 20 Harbor Isle residents testified against the development of a contaminated parcel of land that once housed Cibro Oil, citing infrastructure issues and the problems of bringing renters into the community of single-family homes.

Town Councilman Anthony Santino, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Supervisor Kate Murray, had issued a statement 11 days earlier, along with Murray, saying, “We believe the proposal does not fit with the character of the neighborhood, and is wrong for Harbor Isle.”

“Harbor Isle is one of the loveliest places in Hempstead Town, or anywhere else for that matter,” the statement, which was in the form of a letter sent to residents on Nov. 1, began. “Part of the charm and character of this hamlet is the people who live in the bedroom community. It’s a great place to live and raise a family, and we are committed to helping neighbors maintain this unique residential identity that is part and parcel of this jewel in the crown of Hempstead Town. Accordingly, we want to share some information on our efforts to preserve the integrity and allure of Harbor Isle.”

Farmingdale-based Posillico Development, in partnership with the Virginia-based Avalon Bay Communities, doing business as Blue Island Development, planned the development, called the Battery at Harbor Isle & Avalon Yacht View, on Island Parkway South and Sheridan Place in Harbor Isle, which shares a zip code with the Village of Island Park but is part of the Town of Hempstead.

The town, however, has a covenant on the books that limits the number of rental units in housing developments to 10 percent of the total number of units to be built. The board refused to lift that covenant, effectively killing the plan.

Matt Whalen, vice president of Avalon Bay, which has built rental developments in Rockville Centre, Garden City and elsewhere in Nassau County, said that the project would have helped the business district in Island Park.

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