Empire State Development has chosen a developer for five parcels at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, a month after the airport’s commission chairman asked the agency to provide information on the development to residents who felt left in the dark.
Kay Wright, spokeswoman for Empire State Development, told Newsday late Thursday that the agency would formally announce Friday that they had selected Talon Air, Inc., which already operates out of Republic, to develop the five parcels, subject to environmental review and approvals from other agencies, including the FAA.
Republic Airport Commission Chairman Frank Nocerino last month sent a letter to the state Department of Transportation and Empire State Development on behalf of a coalition of civic groups that raised concerns about the Request for Proposals for the parcels that went out last February.
At a December commission meeting, Lindenhurst resident John Lisi, speaking on behalf of the coalition, asked the commission about the planned development of the more than 35 acres acres saying there needed to be more transparency about the process.
“Entire communities adjacent to Republic are being marginalized by projects that have been fast tracked, expedited and apparently approved before the ink is dry . . . away from public scrutiny,” Lisi read from a prepared statement at that meeting.
Lisi referenced Talon’s 2015 approval to build a fuel tank farm at the airport, which residents said happened days after applying, according to permit documents.
A DOT spokesman said in a statement on Thursday that it took years and multiple approvals for Talon to get permission to sell fuel at the facility.
Residents said they had wanted more outreach from the state agencies on the type of development that would happen on the parcels. In response, Wright said: “There has been robust outreach to stakeholders on Long Island including several meetings with dozens of community members, elected officials, and local organizations.”
Nocerino’s letter to the DOT and Empire State stated that the commission — a volunteer board which advises the state on airport administration — shared a desire by the civic coalition to have information sessions on the proposed development.
Greg Zucker, attorney for Talon’s development company Stratosphere Development, said Talon will meet with the community later this month to further discuss their plans.
Zucker said the company was notified of the award of four parcels in August and then the fifth in November. He said the new development promises $1 million a year in revenue to the airport — which currently relies on $250,000 in annual state subsidies — over the next 49 years of the lease, plus 490 new jobs.
Talon will expand its existing Fixed Based Operator operations and provide new facilities for smaller aircraft. There will be no commercial airline services, Zucker said. ,