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Vote set on Harbor Isle luxury apartment proposal 

Hempstead Town Board will decide on site plans to build 172 waterfront units on a former petroleum oil storage site.

Contaminated soil and groundwater have been found at

Contaminated soil and groundwater have been found at a former petroleum oil storage site in Harbor Isle. Photo Credit: John Roca

Hempstead Town Board is set to vote Tuesday on plans to build a $90 million 172-unit luxury apartment complex on the site of a former Harbor Isle petroleum facility.  

Board members will vote on the site plan for Arlington, Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities to develop the decadelong disputed property at Island Parkway and Washington Avenue near Island Park.

Board members will also vote on an environmental review report that is contingent on property owners decontaminating the site before it can be developed.

The waterfront brownsite was found to have contaminated soil and groundwater after previously serving as a petroleum oil storage site.

The town board first approved a plan in 2008 for property owners Farmingdale-based Posillico to build apartments and condos on the 11-acre site, but the town added limitations two years later to only allow up to 10 percent of the building to be rentals. 

Posillico sued the town in 2014 to lift the rental restrictions so AvalonBay could build eight apartment buildings on the site.

A State Supreme Court ruled in 2015 against the town, and the New York Court of Appeals declined the town’s request to hear the case. A sale from Posillico to AvalonBay is pending cleanup of the property.

Town board members have little recourse to continue to challenge the case as residents and some officials have complained about potential traffic and some rental prices up to $4,000 a month. 

“I live in Island Park and the concerns of my neighbors are the concerns of mine,” Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said. “At this point, the town has done all they can and the judge has ruled for the developer.”

Representatives with AvalonBay and Posillico could not be reached for comment.

The Hempstead Industrial Development Agency has preliminarily approved potential yet to be determined tax breaks for the project, contingent on the cleanup and development, officials said. 

At a September IDA meeting, AvalonBay officials said they could not afford the estimated $9 million cost of cleanup. Developers also said cleanup could take six to nine months and construction another 26 months.

The town’s site plan approval is contingent on the property being cleaned up to standards by the state Department of Environmental Conservation before construction.

AvalonBay plans to pay the town a $88,750  deposit to accommodate up to five years of maintenance and monitoring of development on the site. The town will enter into escrow with developers if the town’s Conservation and Waterways Department finds the property does not meet DEC standards and needs to access the funds.

The site plan calls for all existing foundations and at least three feet of clean soil, in addition to air and water monitoring.

Town board members do not have a public hearing scheduled on the application, but will vote on the pair of site plan resolutions as part of its regular administrative calendar vote. The meeting is set for 10:30 a.m. at Hempstead Town Hall, 1 Washington St.  

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