Civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel will represent an Elmont-based community coalition opposed to the proposed $1 billion complex at Belmont Park that includes a new arena for the New York Islanders.
Siegel, the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, has represented communities opposed to large-scale developments such as Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Columbia University’s expansion in upper Manhattan.
The Belmont Park Community Coalition, a group of residents mainly in the neighborhoods of Elmont and Floral Park, represents residents who say they would be impacted by the planned development by New York Arena Partners.
The development group includes Sterling Project Development, a real estate firm run by the Mets’ Wilpon family, and Oak View Group, an arena development company backed financially by Madison Square Garden.
The proposed project calls for an 18,000-seat arena that would be the new home of the Islanders. It also includes 435,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants, a movie theater and a 250-room hotel.
The project is expected to create 12,300 construction jobs and 3,100 permanent jobs, according to officials of Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency.
“Who decides what’s best for Belmont Park? Is it New York state or New York Arena Partners? There are many people in these affected communities who do not want the new arena,” Siegel said Wednesday.
“What happens when the majority of residents oppose the arena and believe the home of the Islanders is Nassau Coliseum?” he asked.
Siegel said he plans to attend all public meetings with the coalition, opposing the project.
Amy Varghese, spokeswoman for Empire State Development, said the agency is conducting a careful review of 400 written comments and hours of public testimony as part of a public input period that upholds “the highest standards of ethics and transparency, and the state has gone above and beyond what is mandated by law to ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement.” ”