Murray, residents spar over Hempstead's Coliseum plan

Hempstead Town supervisor Kate Murray reveals the town's

Hempstead Town supervisor Kate Murray reveals the town's plan for the Lighthouse Project, which cuts Islanders owner Charles Wang's plan in half. (July 12, 2010) (Credit: David Pokress)

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray frowned and shook her head as residents at a meeting Tuesday ripped her scaled-down plan for the area around Nassau Coliseum.

"You are taking us backward," said Stephen Anchin of Hewlett, in a lengthy exchange. "We need urgently the new tax base that would have been created."

However, Murray and town council members defended the plan in spirited exchanges Tuesday with a handful of residents who spoke out.

"I think this scaled-down proposal is the only one the community would bear," Murray told Anchin.

The comments came during the "miscellaneous" portion of Tuesday's Hempstead Town Board meeting, when residents get three minutes to vent and ask questions on topics of their choosing. On Monday, Murray had announced that Islanders owner and Lighthouse Project developer Charles Wang would have to dramatically rein in his plans for the 77-acre parcel surrounding the Coliseum.

Wang and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano both said Monday the town's zoning plan "looks to be economically unviable."

Claudia Borecky, of Merrick, said to Murray that Nassau Republican chief Joe Mondello and former GOP Sen. Alfonse D'Amato - both longtime political figures in Hempstead - were responsible for the new zoning plan. Borecky asked Murray about a county proposal to put a Shinnecock casino on the Lighthouse grounds.

Murray, a Republican, pointed at Borecky and told her to talk to her former employer, Nassau Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick).

"Why don't you ask your old boss?" Murray said. "The county legislature will have a vote on a casino, not the town."

Two residents spoke in support of Murray.

Representatives of Mondello and D'Amato did not respond to messages. Denenberg was on vacation and could not be reached.

Also Tuesday, the board allowed a condominium development in Harbor Isle to move forward, approving a conversion of 10 percent of its 167 proposed units to rentals. In five years, the rentals must be sold to independent owners.

The waterfront development on a contaminated industrial site still must be approved by the County Planning Commission and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

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