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Push for vote on Yaphank land sale

Suffolk Legislature Presiding Officer William Lindsay said yesterday he would press for a vote next week on a resolution to sell 230 county acres in Yaphank, in effect killing County Executive Steve Levy's controversial mega-project, Legacy Village.

The Holbrook Democrat disclosed his intention only hours after the Council on Environmental Quality made its $400,000 draft generic environmental-impact statement public and set an April 12 hearing to get public comment on the review. The council imposed an April 29 deadline for the end of the comment period.

Lindsay said he was moving forward with his proposal because the county can't wait until the end of the review in June or July to begin marketing the property. Lindsay's proposal calls for selling 221 of the 255-acre tract to help close the county's looming $179.5-million budget shortfall for 2011-12.

Levy's proposed $400-million Legacy Village would create 1,200 units of affordable housing and include a destination downtown with arenas and a solar-powered industrial park. Levy said the project was aimed at halting the exit of the region's young, but local civic leaders said it would jam schools, endanger the Carmans River and ruin rural Yaphank.

Christopher Kent, Levy's chief deputy, called it "unwise" to take any action to end the review process. "It would be a tremendous waste of money and time already committed to the study," he said.

Michael Kaufman, a council member, warned the group "may suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous comment" in hearings because its review did not analyze the specific impact of the Legacy Village proposal because the developer's plans were not detailed enough to assess.

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