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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center may be exempt from fee

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will spend $140

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will spend $140 million in private funds to build an outpatient treatment and research facility adjacent to the Nassau Coliseum, County Executive Edward Mangano said. Photo Credit: Nassau County

Nassau officials are seeking to exempt Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from a $1 million fee the nonprofit would owe the county as part of its $140 million development proposal at the Nassau Coliseum site.

A county legislative committee this week passed an amendment to new building permit review fees instituted late last year as a way to boost revenues. The new fees included a .75 percent charge on a project’s estimated construction value, if the estimate is more than $250,000.

The amendment carved out a narrow exemption that, to this point, only affects Sloan Kettering: nonprofits that purchased land from the county after 2014 do not owe the new permit review fees if the fees were not in place when the legislature approved the sale.

Sloan Kettering paid Nassau $6.5 million for five acres next to the Coliseum in a deal the legislature approved last September. The nonprofit plans to spend $140 million in private funds to build a 105,000-square-foot outpatient treatment and research facility.

A slate of new public works department building review fees, including the surcharge on large development projects, were approved in November.

“This is completely a matter of timing,” said Josh Meyer, an attorney representing Nassau on the Sloan Kettering deal, told lawmakers on Monday. “At the time this was negotiated, there was no permit fee to be paid by the not-for-profit.”

Legis. Carrie Solages (D-Elmont) sought to allay concerns he had over the appearance of the amendment. “In essence, does this comprise a gift to a non-profit?” Solages asked.

Meyer replied, “we don’t believe so,” adding that “there was fair and adequate consideration paid at the time” of the land sale. He added that the amendment would apply to all nonprofits meeting the requirements.

A spokeswoman for Sloan Kettering did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The nonprofit is seeking state health department approvals for the new cancer center and has said it hopes to secure all town and county approvals to begin construction within the next 12 months.

The facility, which could open in 2018, would be accompanied by a $20-million, 450-spot parking garage adjacent to the cancer center that would be available for evening and weekend events at the renovated Nassau Coliseum.

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