Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well, This Is An Election Year, After All?

Local GOP Councilman Bucks Al D'Amato's Big Bucs Plans For Condos In The Sand

Al D'Amato and his development partners are looking to buy up The Sands in Atlantic Beach, and turn this still somewhat pristine beachfront property into 100 condominium units.

Now comes Town of Hempstead Councilman, James Darcy, with a proposal that would effectively put an end to Al's grandiose -- not to mention lucrative -- plans: The County of Nassau should use monies from the $100 million dollar Environmental Bond to purchase the property, and thereafter, to preserve waht remains of The Sands as open space.

Not a bad idea, but just a wee bit late -- the deadline for proposals under the Bond Act having past in March -- and probably a tad too expensive, this 12-acre beachfront expanse presumably on the block for a pretty penny or two.

Still, give Jim Darcy credit -- yes, yes, he is up for re-election in the fall -- for an ingenious idea, although even he must realize, in his heart of hearts, that the likelihood of Environmental Bond monies going toward the purchase of The Sands is, well, about as likely as Town Supervisor Kate Murray not sending out another flyer with her photo on it between today and November 6th.

Well, nice try.

Wait. We have an idea. The Town can declare The Sands to be "blighted" under the Urban Renewal statute, move to condemn, then tear the place down (SEE Kate and Jim in hard hats, wielding the wrecking ball), constructing in its stead a municipal parking lot, complete with brick pavers, ornate benches, planters that will never be watered, and Victorian-style street lamps.

After all, Atlantic Beach is a beautiful place to live. We're certain the Town of Hempstead will to everything possible to make the village even better!
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Nassau leader aims to undercut D'Amato's Sands plan
By Eden Laikin

A Hempstead town councilman has asked County Executive Thomas Suozzi to push Nassau to buy the Sands at Atlantic Beach so the property, where former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato has proposed building 100 condominiums, can be preserved as open space.

Councilman James Darcy (R-Valley Stream), who represents the Atlantic Beach community and is running for re-election in November, said he hoped Suozzi would consider acquiring the 12 acres with money from a $100 million environmental bond passed last year, and then turn it over to the town to supervise its conservation.

"It is my belief that this property is a perfect example of the type of open space preservation envisioned by the people of Nassau County when they voted to approve said bonds," Darcy said yesterday in a letter he faxed to the county executive's office. "Recognizing the unique and fragile nature of the oceanfront along the Atlantic Ocean on the western end of Long Beach Island, I would like to request that you give serious thought to acquiring the Sands," Darcy wrote.

County officials reached Wednesday said it was unlikely that the property would be considered for acquisition under the bond act because the deadline for nominating properties was March 15.

"The bond act advisory committee has a process it follows," said Thomas Maher, Nassau's director for environmental coordination. "Once you open the door to one, then you open the door to everybody."

Suozzi, who said he hadn't yet seen Darcy's letter, said "there are dozens of properties throughout the county that local municipalities and neighbors don't want to see developed. The county is not in the position to buy every one of them. That's why we have a process."

Last week, Newsday reported that D'Amato, who launched his political career in Republican-dominated Hempstead town, is the major investor in a plan to build 100 condos on the site of the Sands.

D'Amato's son Christopher, a partner in the proposed development with his father, and his brother Armand D'Amato, applied to the town May 30 to change the Sands' marine recreation zoning to multi-dwelling use so condos could be built. The special zoning was created 20 years ago this month, in order to prevent overdevelopment and to preserve the beachfront.

The application has to go through various reviews, and it could take a year before the town board votes on it.

Neither D'Amato nor his attorney for the zoning application, Al D'Agostino, returned calls for comment Wednesday. D'Agostino has said previously that the deal to buy and develop the property hinges on the zoning approval.

No one from the Sands returned calls for comment Wednesday.

D'Amato's proposal has upset residents of the approximately 200-home beach community of Atlantic Beach Estates. Many said the development would overcrowd the area and block their beach access. Several said they welcomed the councilman's alternative solution.

"Certainly, we would welcome any change that would keep it from going to housing," said long-time resident Ruth Radow.

Resident Stephen Silverstein, a dentist, said he also liked Darcy's solution."It sounds beautiful," said Silverstein. "It sounds in the best interest of everybody." Silverstein also is president of the Atlantic Beach Estates civic association, but said he was only speaking for himself.

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a solution for you - Just say NO to Al and his family and get their self serving interests out of the TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD.
    Nassau County shouldn't have to purchase the property @1M in order to stop the D'Amato's. The TOH should stop burdening the county. If it has to be purchased to keep this from happening.....have the Town go against the grain and buy it themselves.

    Kate Murray should have veto power over the ZBA. Kate needs to behave in the best interest of the people she represents. Currently the ZBA are D'Amato wanna bees. Isn't it time for a new board especially given recent events of building violations and Zoning Board decisions that turned McMansions into the new building standards for the majority middle class. Talk about conflicts of interest. Building came to a hault when the press got hold of it and guess who is responsible for the problems to begin with?????