Board OKs changes to school sale contract

A view of the Seaford Avenue School which A view of the Seaford Avenue School which has sat vacant for the past year. Five Towns College had occupied the school, then BOCES, but they too left the property. (Sept. 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

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The Seaford board of education has approved changes to the contract with the developer who wants to purchase the vacant Seaford Avenue School property, and has rescheduled a referendum on the sale of the site for Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The board's unanimous votes came at a meeting Thursday night at Seaford Manor Elementary School. Earlier this month, the board responded to resident opposition and postponed the Oct. 16 referendum to sell the property for $5.2 million.

The contract with developer BK at Seaford Llc, a subsidiary of the Engel Burman Group, now includes covenants that would require the 100 to 113 proposed condominium units to be owner-occupied, for purchase only, and for residents 55 and older. No one younger than 18 would be allowed to live there.

"I think these changes address the concerns that we had and the community had," board president Brian Fagan said.

Some residents have opposed the plan because of the density of the housing complex, possible traffic and parking issues, and the probable loss of three baseball fields on the property. Supporters have said the additional tax revenue and senior housing are needed.

"The things that you corrected should have been in the contract anyway," Phil Franco, president of the Seaford Harbor Civic Association, said at the meeting, adding he was not speaking on behalf of the group. "The resistance of this community against this development still remains."

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The sale of the 5.66-acre property would save the district about $100,000 in annual maintenance costs and create $500,000 in additional annual tax revenue, Superintendent Brian Conboy has said. Previously rented out, the building has been vacant since 2010.

If voters approve the sale, the developer would have two years to obtain zoning approvals from Hempstead Town, with an optional six-month extension. Any reduction in the maximum 113 units would reduce the school district's take from the sale by $49,500 per unit, but its total sale revenue cannot fall below $4.95 million, the school district's attorney Christopher Venator said.

Real estate firm Greiner-Maltz, hired by the district to market the property, would receive 4.5 percent of the final sale amount. But Franco and other residents at the meeting cited rumors that a local contractor had expressed interest in purchasing the land to build single-family homes but was turned away.

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District officials said no written proposal was submitted from the contractor, adding that they received just two responses to the request for proposals that was sent to 1,500 entities.

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