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Hempstead officials oppose Harbor Isle rental housing project

Harbor Isle Beach in Island Park is pictured

Harbor Isle Beach in Island Park is pictured in a Feb. 16, 2015 file photo. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

Hempstead Town officials and residents are vehemently opposing a developer’s push to build luxury apartments and condominiums on Harbor Isle, even after a court invalidated the denial of a building permit for the project.

“Hempstead Town will appeal the recent court decision, which would force the development of a rental housing project that would transform Harbor Isle in a profound and negative way,” Supervisor Anthony Santino said Tuesday. “Homeowners have rightly pointed out that such a project would change the character of the area [next to Island Park] for the worse, adding traffic congestion and ushering forth a transient population.”

Michael Posillico, president of Farmingdale-based Posillico Development LLC, said he hopes town officials rethink their position and “help move the project forward, which will be good for the environment and for the economy.”

But in the meantime, he said, “we have put together the papers to expedite this appeal and to vacate any stay on the project that would normally be sought . . . so they don’t just sit back while the project is further delayed.”

Posillico, who bought the site out of bankruptcy in 1999, said they had “hoped to start the project years ago as a means to help boost the economy after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.”

He said town officials did not always oppose the project and approved his first plan, which called for 10 percent apartments and the rest condominiums in the 128-acre hamlet of about 6,000 people west of Island Park.

“But that had to be modified because the market changed, the bottom fell out of condominiums,” Posillico said.

The current plan calls for 132 apartments, 32 condominium units, and 31 boat slips. That plan was denied by the board in November 2013.

“The developer has a great concept: remediate a contaminated site and turn it into a beneficial use,” said Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute.

Justice Jeffrey S. Brown ruled on Dec. 9 that the town board’s decision was invalid and that the change request should go back to the town board for review.

A major aspect of the proposed $70 million project is remediation of the nearly 11-acre site, which was formerly a fuel oil terminal. That remediation has a Dec. 31, 2017, completion date set by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Posillico said.

“Further delays will make it almost impossible to meet the state’s mandatory deadline,” he said.

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