Letters: Strong split over TOBAY land sale

The sale of the Town of Oyster Bay

The sale of the Town of Oyster Bay public works complex, adjacent to the former Cerro Wire site, is up for a vote Tuesday. (Credit: Newsday, 2004 / Karen Wiles Stabile)

I strongly disagree with your recent editorial urging a yes vote on the Town of Oyster Bay land sale referendum ["Mauling over the mall," Aug. 11]. You state that the town could not get more money for the land. However, both sides seem to have huge sums to spend on TV ads, robocalls, polling and glossy mailings. Obviously, to would-be buyers, the present price is a steal.

I am voting no because think the town should not sell the land at all. This is a one-time fix to a continuing budget problem. Why doesn't the town lease the land (with a provision tying the rent to any increasing value of the property)? That way, there would be a reliable yearly sum to help Town of Oyster Bay taxpayers.

Nancy Lowenthal, Hicksville

Despite the article " 'Clash of the titans' " [News, Aug. 18], which intended to clarify the issue at hand, I confess I am still confused about what is going on here and why we need a referendum now, considering the November election is not so far away. I don't think I am alone here.

I am willing to bet that not one in 10 Town of Oyster Bay residents (or anyone else for that matter) really understands the issues at hand. For that reason alone, most will not bother to vote, and that is one thing that interested parties and their fellow-traveler politicos depend on. They can concentrate their propaganda on very small groups.

So exactly why is it that allowing the sale of surplus land to one set of real estate speculators is any better or worse than any other set?

I don't know about you, but I always vote no in cases like this, especially when I am repeatedly told by the powers that be that a yes vote is good for the town and Nassau County. Let's not fool ourselves; in the end what's good for the real estate speculators is good only for them, and we taxpayers will take it in the neck as usual.

Theresa L. Moonitz, Massapequa

I am voting against the sale of "surplus" Town of Oyster Bay land to a mall developer. A yes vote indicates a belief that $32.5 million for 54 acres off the Long Island Expressway is a fair market value.

A no vote means that the Town of Oyster Bay is entitled to sell the land -- maybe for less money -- to a developer that is planning to use the land for a luxury mall.

In my opinion, neither side has convincingly established the property's fair market value or how the property will impact the surrounding communities and businesses.

I am voting yes because I would like the town to sell the parcel in pieces to local developers, who would then have the opportunity to compete against each other to develop each piece. Each piece could be bid up by these developers. The big developers would also be entitled to bid against one another and attempt to put the parcel together piece by piece. If more developers bid, the town would make more money.

I hope that local developers are involved, because they would employ more local carpenters, electricians and plumbers. The Town of Oyster Bay and Nassau County will likely benefit more than if major construction companies build a luxury mall, attracting consumers away from existing local businesses.

Also, it may mean that with the additional money, the town will be able to reserve some property to be sold for developing housing affordable for our children and parents.

I am voting yes.

Allan Stern, Glen Head

Once again, our Nassau politicians ignore the will of the public and help their developer pals. Confused? So am I.

This vote is only about which developer benefits from the sale of Department of Public Works property adjacent to the Cerro Wire property. We don't want Taubman Centers or another mall developer. Our town politicians were willing to allow a mall until there was a lot of taxpayer opposition, and they began to backpedal. How can the town need the money? Have you looked at your property tax bill lately?

Why can't we have a nice outdoor space? I would suggest a multiuse park with cycling paths, tennis courts, and areas for jogging and rollerblading. We need this for ourselves and our children. Not a cluster of homes built by the pals of Oyster Bay politicians.

Truth be told, this decision should have been removed from the hands of the town years ago. Expecting the town to act in the public interest is the definition of insanity.

Louis Cook, Woodbury

With regard to the Cerro Wire property and the sale of the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Public Works yard, the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce reaffirms its position to support Main Street businesses and oppose the development of malls in the Town of Oyster Bay.

Julie Marchesella, Garden City

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the executive board of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce.

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