An environmental review is underway for five parcels being developed at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale.
The review is occurring at all five sites simultaneously, according to a spokeswoman for the state’s Empire State Development agency, and is the latest step in a conditional deal with Stratosphere Development Co. LLC, an affiliate of Talon Air Inc., which operates out of the airport.
After a request for proposals was put out in February 2016 by Empire State, Stratosphere was awarded four parcels at the airport in August and a fifth in November.
The new development promises $1 million a year in revenue to the airport, which currently relies on $250,000 in annual state subsidies. Talon will expand its existing Fixed Based Operator operations and provide new facilities for smaller aircraft.
According to Stratosphere, the project will create 240 new jobs at the airport, 250 new jobs outside the airport and 197 temporary jobs.
The project was heralded by many in attendance at a community meeting the state held last week, with some holding signs such as “More Jobs = Better life on Long Island.”
Michael Canders, director of the aviation center at Farmingdale State College, a fuel customer of Talon’s, said he was excited at the prospect of jobs for his students so that they could stay on Long Island. He noted that “it’s great to see this face-lift coming, to see these dilapidated properties get improved.”
However, some residents have criticized the development for being exempt from property taxes due to its aviation-only use, and for what they called a lack of transparency from the state.
Others at the meeting were critical of Talon owner Adam Katz’s campaign contributions to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Katz and his subsidiaries have contributed more than $125,000 to Cuomo since 2011, records show.
Katz said he went through a more than five-year approval process for Talon’s fuel farm.
“I don’t regard myself as entitled,” Katz said in an interview. “I regard myself as privileged to have an opportunity to do something that’s in both my interest and the community’s interest.”
Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said in a statement: “No contribution of any size will influence a government action, period.”
The airport commission has called for another public meeting and the request is being considered, an Empire State spokeswoman said. They are accepting written public comments on the project via email and postal mail until April 20.