Despite concerns about its remoteness, a 95-acre parcel of land located in the center of a former Grumman facility in Calverton was pitched by its owners Thursday as a "shovel-ready" site for a Shinnecock Indian Nation casino.
Supervisor Mark Lesko described the talks as "very cordial," and said, "I'm listening as much as I'm talking."
Calverton and Brookhaven airport are two of more than half a dozen sites being considered for a casino by the Southampton tribe as a decision on its federal recognition status looms. Tribal leaders and their financial backers at Gateway Casino Resorts in Detroit met with Gov. David A. Paterson's administration last month for talks on a compact with the tribe, six members of which appeared at the Hauppauge meeting Thursday.
Owners of the Calverton property, speaking at a Suffolk Legislature Gaming Task Force meeting in Hauppauge Thursday, said the site had undergone zoning, environmental and other needed reviews, making it "shovel ready." The owners, at the Engel Burman Group of Garden City, said they would lease or sell the property for an undisclosed sum, and could develop it for the tribe. Lance Gumbs, a senior Shinnecock trustee, said the tribe would consider it among others. It would base its decision on its feasibility studies and reception from residents.
"We're evaluating them all," Gumbs said.
Jan Burman, whose family owns the Calverton parcel at Engel Burman, pitched the site as "probably one of the only sites you could walk into tomorrow, submit your plans and get going." Environmental and other reviews have been completed, and utility services and roads are in place, according to Burman. He broached the notion of a Long Island Expressway off-ramp specifically for the site to address tribal concerns the site is not easily accessible.
At the same forum, John Paulson, a Shirley resident, unloaded on the Suffolk task force about the Brookhaven airport's inclusion on the site list. He said access to it is limited and in the middle of communities, but Gumbs said casinos as nearby as Foxwoods don't suffer from traffic woes.
Connecticut casinos Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods have seen average daily traffic on nearby roads nearly double in the 18 years since they opened, according to 2005 data from the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, a planning consortium.
Gumbs said in his years of visiting Foxwoods, "I've never seen a traffic jam on the road."
- 95 acres zoned for more than 1 million square feet of development
- Water, sewer, electric, cable and phone lines in place
- 20 miles from Shinnecock Reservation
- Air strips for private charters, 2 miles to LIE, 12 miles to Yaphank train station
Other sites in the mix
- Brookhaven Calabro Airport (Shirley)
- Shoreham Nuke Plant
- Calverton EPCAL (Riverhead Town-owned)
- Belmont Park
- Legacy Village (Yaphank)
- Parr Meadows (Yaphank)
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