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Oyster Bay considers eminent domain to seize golf course it offered to buy in $4.4M cash deal

The 50-acre, nine-hole Peninsula Golf Club in East

The 50-acre, nine-hole Peninsula Golf Club in East Massapequa has been protected from development for 75 years by a restrictive covenant imposed by Nassau County. Credit: Newsday/Adam Richins

The Town of Oyster Bay may seize the Peninsula Golf Club in East Massapequa using eminent domain to prevent another interested buyer from purchasing the property.

The town board’s agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting includes a vote to schedule a July 13 hearing on using eminent domain to condemn the property.

The 50-acre, nine-hole golf course has been protected from development for 75 years by a restrictive covenant imposed by Nassau County. The covenant stipulates that the property remain a golf course and prohibits any development. County Executive Laura Curran said in an April letter to Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino that the county would uphold the covenants.

Shortly after owner P.G.C. Holding Corp. shareholders agreed to sell it to Florida-based Great American Properties in March, Oyster Bay had the property appraised and twice offered to match the sale price of $4.4 million without notifying the public.

"I don’t know what Oyster Bay is doing," Nicholas DeSibio, president of P.G.C., which owns the property, said Monday of the eminent domain hearing. He declined to comment further.

While Oyster Bay officials offered in April to buy the property, they wouldn’t agree to conditions approved by the shareholders for any sale. These included keeping the club’s current staff employed for five years or give the 68 shareholders free tee times for 10 years or pay additional money if the property is ever developed in the future.

Town spokesman Brian Nevin did not respond Monday to a request for comment. Nevin said in a series of tweets Friday that the purchaser could try to develop the property but did not provide evidence to support that assertion in response to requests for that information.

Richard Schaub Jr., owner of Vero Beach, Florida-based Great American Properties, the presumed private purchaser of the golf course, did not respond Monday to requests for comment. Schaub and his father developed several properties in Vero Beach in the 1980s, according to news reports. The company’s website says its business plan includes the "pursuit" of daily-fee golf courses in the United States.

Oyster Bay Democratic leader Dave Mejias said in an emailed statement Monday that the town’s motives for seizing the property are "illusive and suspicious."

"The Town remains in a precarious financial position, and it is reckless and irresponsible to take this land off the tax rolls and offer $4.4 million in cash, while keeping residents in the dark, and jeopardizing future stability," Mejias wrote.

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