No one can question that Long Island's future economy is far better served by the research being done at the Stony Brook University research park than by a golf-condominium complex. But a judge's opinion has set the price for the state's acquisition of the land far too high.
The state and the owner, Gyrodyne Co. of America, could not negotiate a sale price. So the state chose to condemn 245 acres in 2005, pay Gyrodyne a little more than $26 million, and take its chances in court. Eminent domain is always risky, but this was a gamble well worth taking.
While the legal struggle continued, Stony Brook built the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. Inventions from that facility will be crucial to the development of a healthy information-based economy on the Island. And the park's second building, the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, is well under way.
But Court of Claims Judge James J. Lack has fixed the value of the property at $125 million, relying on speculative testimony that Smithtown and Brookhaven would have granted the rezonings needed to give it that value. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is very likely to appeal, and he should. The price seems way out of whack, and the state can't afford it.
The "highest and best use" of this land is research, not golf, and taxpayers must not be ripped off to pay for it. hN