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Civic groups seek vote on Roslyn Country Club

Exterior of Royalton at Roslyn Country Club at

Exterior of Royalton at Roslyn Country Club at 33 Club Drive in Roslyn Heights. (Aug. 17, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

Representatives of four civic associations Thursday presented a petition to the North Hempstead Town clerk calling for a public vote on the town board’s controversial decision to purchase the Roslyn Country Club.

The civic associations of Lakeville Estates, New Hyde Park, Carle Place and Albertson collected 4,074 signatures. Once those names are validated, the petition would require that a resolution passed by the town board on June 19 to buy the Roslyn Country Club with $7.5 million in bonds be part of the general ballot in November or a special ballot.

“We believe that we should have the right to vote on it, considering that we’re going to be paying for it,” said Marianna Wohlgemuth, 62, president of Lakeville Estates Civic Association.

She and the other representatives said the town’s plan to offset the bond by selling at least 1,000 annual memberships at about $1,000 apiece will fall short of the target, making taxpayers liable.

North Hempstead spokesman Collin Nash said only that the town would review the petition. He declined to say how long it would take to check the signatures. A petition, he said, is required to have 3,343 valid names — 5 percent of North Hempstead residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.

North Hempstead spokesman Sid Nathan said a special ballot outside of November’s general election could cost about $350,000, a cost civic representatives said they hoped to avoid. The petition filed Thursday specifically sought that the issue be included on the general ballot.

The resolution to purchase the country club, surrounded by a neighborhood of 668 homes whose owners have exclusive rights of access to the club in their deeds, passed 5-2.

Council members who supported the purchase pointed to the benefits of new open space, while opponents Dina DeGiorgio and Angelo Ferrara argued that residents of the area should create a special district and pay taxes on the club themselves.

“I don’t want to see the burden placed on people who will never, ever use the pool,” Ferrara said Thursday.

Above: Roslyn Country Club

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