Conceptual renderings show the exterior of the proposed Sands casino...

Conceptual renderings show the exterior of the proposed Sands casino resort at the site of the Nassau Coliseum. Credit: The Sands Corp.

The Nassau County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday to discuss transferring the Coliseum lease to Las Vegas Sands, signaling a restart of the county approval process that a state Supreme Court justice ordered last year. 

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building on Franklin Avenue in Mineola. The hearing also will be streamed live on the commission's homepage.

According to the commission's agenda, posted online, the hearing "will introduce, discuss, and receive public comment" regarding a proposed lease between the county and Sands. 

Sands has proposed a $6 billion casino-resort on the 72-acre county-owned property in Uniondale. Sands needs the lease and the right to operate the Coliseum in addition to a state gambling license to build the planned resort, which would include restaurants, retail, open space and an entertainment venue. 

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Sands CEO Robert Goldstein last year announced they had struck a deal to provide a 99-year lease to Sands in exchange for $54 million up front to the county and then $5 million in annual rent, regardless of whether anything is built on the property. The payments would rise if Sands were to win a gambling  license and open a casino.

Nearby Hofstra University, leading the opposition to the plan, sued the county Planning Commission, Blakeman and the Nassau County Legislature last year for not providing adequate notice and information about the project to the public. They allege the commission voted without proper discussion or a study of the impact of the lease transfer. 

Blakeman spokesman Chris Boyle declined to comment Monday.

The new proposed lease comes after state Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor on Nov. 9 ruled the county didn't properly notify the public or review the development plan before approving the lease.

Kapoor agreed with Hofstra's assertion the county planning commission had violated the state’s Open Meetings Law when it met earlier in 2023 to consider the lease.

/Kapoor also said the county legislature was wrong to forgo an extensive environmental review and ordered the process to start over. The county is appealing the decision in the Appellate Division, Second Department. A spokeswoman for Hofstra declined to comment Monday.  

The procedure this time differs from last year in that the Coliseum lease before the planning commission "does not authorize the Coliseum site to be developed or used for a casino, and any such authorization will occur, if at all, through a separate lease in the future that will be subject to public comment," according to the agenda.

Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), who cast the lone vote against the lease agreement in the legislature in May 2023 has blamed Blakeman for the court battle with Hofstra. 

"It's not just about getting a deal done, but about getting it done right. The Planning Commission's review process is meant to ensure that we consider the impacts on traffic, the environment and our neighborhoods," DeRiggi-Whitton said.

A spokesman for Sands declined to comment Monday. 

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