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Trying to Strike Oil at Harbor Isle

FOR NEARLY 50 YEARS, trucks came rolling on and off Harbor

Isle transporting oil.

At the southern tip of the isle, next to Island Park, was a 11.6-acre Cibro

Oil terminal where oil was stored in tanks.

But since the 1990s, when Cibro went bankrupt, the oil terminal has been a

vacant lot, home to fuel tank foundations, neighborhood trash and seagulls.

Then in November 2000, Michael Posillico, project manager of

Farmingdale-based Blue Island Development, bought the site from a Cibro

bankruptcy sale for $2.3 million with plans to clean up the oil-contaminated

site and develop it into 94 waterfront apartments - at a total cost approaching

$30 million.

"The site's an eyesore," Posillico said. "It will take a year to clean up

the soil," he said, to meet Department of Environment and Conservation

standards.

Posillico submitted an application to the Town of Hempstead in March 2001.

Upon approval, the cleanup will begin, he said.

Posillico thinks the cleanup effort is worth it, since the property is one

of the few tracts left to develop in Nassau County.

The nearly 500 homeowners now living on the isle have had concerns as to

what would happen to the site, which is currently zoned by the Town of

Hempstead as industrial property.

Anthony Marino, a Harbor Isle resident active in monitoring the progress of

the development, said homeowners have, in fact, been worried that the site

would be used for industrial purposes.

Still, not everyone on the isle is happy with the residential plans, Marino

said. Some wanted the site to be converted into a park, others wanted the site

to be used for single-family housing.

"I would prefer a lower number of homes," said Michael Scully, a Harbor

Isle resident. "However, most people are happy the site will be cleaned up."

Posillico responded that it would not be economically feasible to build

single-family houses. He will have to spend more than $5 million cleaning up

the contaminated site, Posillico said, asserting that he would be lucky to

recover his cleanup costs if single homes were built. He added that he is

getting no help from government agencies to clean up the site.

Posillico said the luxury apartments will be at least equal to the value to

the neighboring area. He said the condos, generally clustered in groups, will

range in price from $300,000 to $800,000.

Hempstead is reviewing the complex application and is likely to render a

decision soon, Posillico said. He said if it is rejected, he may have to alter

his plans - or develop a building that conforms to industrial zoning.

Marino said that most of the residents are happy with Posillico's plans:

"He could have put up 220 condos according to Town of Hempstead variance laws."

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