Island Park residents divided over $90M development plan
A controversial $90-million, 172-unit housing development with a combination of luxury apartments and condos has received a mixed reaction from Island Park residents. Some say they worry about increased traffic, while others in the Sandy-ravaged community welcome the economic and population boost they say the project would bring.
The development plan for the Battery at Harbor Isle & Avalon Yacht View calls for turning a former oil storage and distribution site in Harbor Isle, part of Island Park, into 140 rental apartment units and 32 condos near the water with boat slips.
"The influx of people in the area earning high incomes could not come at a better time in the aftermath of Storm Sandy, when Island Park has lost a significant number of residents," said Glenn J. Ingoglia, president of the Island Park Chamber of Commerce. "Not to mention these residents will offer a much-needed boost to our business community."
The development plan was the focus of a joint meeting last week by the Island Park Civic Association and the chamber of commerce. The chamber and Island Park Village Mayor James Ruzicka support the development, while the civic association has not taken a stance, its officials said.
"Island Park is in trouble," village resident Janet McEntee, 46, said at the meeting of about 150 people. "We have this wonderful opportunity to have affluent people . . . The stores are empty. There is no one here."
But other residents said they worry about traffic and the possibility a lack of tenants could lead to the high end rentals becoming low-income housing.
"This has divided our community," said Richard Paine, who has lived in Harbor Isle for 30 years. "I don't want it down the street from me."
The 11-acre site at Island Parkway South and Sheridan Place, has been vacant for more than a decade and is part of the New York State Brownfield program, which seeks to clean up toxic waste sites. As the landowner, Posillico would have until Dec. 31, 2015, to complete the estimated $12 million cleanup to be eligible for the program's tax credits. Avalon then would purchase the portion of the property where the rental buildings would be situated.
"I came to clean up a site that my family didn't pollute, that I didn't pollute," said Michael Posillico, principal of Posillico Development, who also complained about the "impossible" zoning process on Long Island.
Posillico initially planned to build 172 condos on the site and received Hempstead Town approval in 2008. Now he's asking the town to lift a restrictive covenant on rentals so Avalon can construct eight apartment buildings.
"If they decide not to do it, we will be pulling out at the end of June," said Posillico, adding he has invested $6 million on the property so far.
Town spokesman Michael Deery said officials would bring the application before the town board when they are ready. "The town board doesn't operate on the deadline of developers," Deery said.
Harbor Isle development plan
LOCATION Southeast corner of Island Parkway South and Sheridan Place in Harbor Isle, Island Park
CURRENT PROPERTY TAXES $146,080 per year
1999: Posillico Development, LLC pays $2.3 million for the former Cibro oil storage and distribution site at a bankruptcy auction.
2008: Hempstead Town board grants a zoning change from industrial to residential, allowing 172 condos on the site.
2010: The town board modifies a previous covenant to allow for up to 10 percent of the 172 units to be rentals.
March 2013: Posillico requests that the town board lifts the modified covenant to allow 140 rentals along with 32 condos.
SOURCE: POSILLICO DEVELOPMENT, LLC; TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD