Development's critics cite traffic, size
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A nearly two-decade debate over development of 143 acres in Plainview now focuses on plans to build an 890-unit gated community that some residents say is too big, will generate too much traffic and will burden the school district.
The developers will present their plan at a Town of Oyster Bay public hearing Tuesday.
Developer Michael Dubb is asking the town to rezone the land and remove restrictive covenants to permit him to build a complex of condos and commercial space totaling 2 million square feet. More than 40 acres would be preserved as recreational space.
Prices for two-bedroom condos would start at $500,000, he said. More than two-thirds of the housing would be restricted to people over age 55.
"There are all of these people, empty nesters living in houses, that want to stay . . . on Long Island, that need communities like this to go to and it's really very sad that there aren't more opportunities like this," Dubb said.
The draft environmental impact statement acknowledges the project would increase traffic, but Dubb said the company would pay for mitigation measures.
But Carol Meschkow, president of Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community, called the project's size "unreasonable."
"To have to tolerate the impacts of such a huge development . . . we really should see a lot more preservation on that property," Meschkow said.
Barry Mansfield, 67, a mortgage broker who lives next to the property, said he wants to see independent studies on the proposal, "so that they [town leaders] just don't get bulldozed into doing something that doesn't make sense."
In 1996, Nassau County wanted the site rezoned to allow for a 481,000-square-foot office building and 368 condominiums before selling the property. Area residents invoked a state law that required three-fourths of the town board to vote for the zoning change after 20 percent or more of adjacent property owners file a written protest.
The votes weren't there, and in 1997, the town rezoned 45.9 acres for a 420,000-square-foot office building and restricted 40.1 acres for parks and recreation and 61.2 acres for governmental use.
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang bought the land for $23 million in 1999, but scrapped plans for housing, a hotel and retail space in 2007 amid community opposition.
Dubb's company, Mile Development of Jericho, has agreed to give the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District $6 million to build new facilities for additional students if the project is approved.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto said the hearing would give "any and all interested residents a full and fair opportunity to be heard."
The town will accept public comments for at least 30 days and up to 60 days.