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Speakers tout, and question, impact of Lighthouse

Uniondale: New York Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks

Uniondale: New York Islanders owner Charles Wang speaks to supporters for the LI Lighthouse at a rally at the Nassau Coliseum prior to Hofstra for a public hearing on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Howard Schnapp) Credit: Newsday/Photo by Howard Schnapp

One after another, speakers at Tuesday's hearing into the environmental impact of the proposed 150-acre Lighthouse development urged Town of Hempstead officials to approve the project - and do it now.

Civic leaders, union representatives, elected officials and even Long Island's bishop stepped up to the podium to speak about the jobs the project would create, the tax revenue it would generate and the need for a new coliseum for Long Island's only professional sports team, the Islanders.

For the first two hours, the town board's hearing appeared to continue an early-morning pro-Lighthouse rally at the Coliseum - even though Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray told the crowd that the hearing's purpose was solely the environmental review of the project.

"This [hearing] is not about the merits of the project," Murray said, explaining that environmental issues include the impact on traffic, air quality, storm water runoff and quality-of-life.

It wasn't until late morning that a few speakers addressed the potential impact on water and traffic.

Sierra Club volunteer Jane Fasullo got a subdued reception when she said she neither supported nor opposed the project but asked for definitive detail on its impact on water supply. She also urged a study of alternative energy sources and green design.

"As you design this project, please keep these things under consideration," she told town board members.

Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders and a principal of the Lighthouse Development Group, was the first to speak.

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