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Developers show drawings of proposal at former Cerro Wire plant

Dorothy Fitch of Syosset, right, talks to representatives

Dorothy Fitch of Syosset, right, talks to representatives for the developer of the 93-acre Syosset Park project on Thursday in Jericho. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The developer of the planned 92.8-acre Syosset Park recently unveiled renderings of the mixed-use project, to praise from some nearby residents and concern from others about the health effects of building on contaminated land.

The project would be built on the sites of the former Cerro Wire plant, a landfill and a Town of Oyster Bay public works complex.

Residents on Thursday perused drawings of people walking down tree-lined streets past modern and traditional-style town houses, and kids playing in a spray park. A site plan on display showed the mix of 625 town houses and condominiums, two hotels, a 30-acre park, 350,000 square feet of shops and services and space for offices, restaurants and a movie theater.

“This is the same plan, the same program” that came out of five meetings with residents in 2015 to determine the project’s characteristics, said Charles Davis, senior vice president of development for Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, which along with Manhasset-based Castagna Realty Co. comprise the developer, Syosset Park Development LLC.

Robin Grossman, 54, of Jericho, who lives about a quarter-mile away from the site, said she would prefer fewer residential units — to reduce future traffic and the impact on Syosset schools — but said that overall “the entire project sounds fabulous. It will be a great asset to the community. . . . It’s going to take a physical eyesore and turn it into something that the renderings show as stunning.”

Grossman was among the area residents who fought successfully against a previous plan by Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc. to build a sprawling shopping mall on the site.

But Theresa Walch, who had for 17 years lived in a now-closed mobile home park near the site, accused the developer of putting future residents’ and visitors’ lives at risk by building on contaminated land. Additional testing of the sites is necessary, she said.

Davis said the Cerro Wire site was remediated with state oversight, and the developer is conducting further remediation. The landfill is capped and, according to a Town of Oyster Bay statement, monitored and tested regularly. Building can’t begin until state and federal environmental agencies approve, Davis said.

The town board Tuesday is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the developer’s draft environmental impact statement as complete, which would trigger a 60-day review period that would include public comment and a public hearing, a town statement said.

Syosset resident Ralph Catapano questioned whether the property taxes the development would pay would be enough to cover the expected influx of students.

“You’re making all the money,” he told Davis. “We’re paying all the bills.”

A study commissioned by the developer projects 250 new Syosset Central School District students at build-out. A consultant hired by the district estimates 355, a district spokeswoman said Friday. The district is continuing to analyze the financial effects of the project, she said.

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