Thursday, July 09, 2009

Light(house) At The End Of That Tunnel?

Town Of Hempstead Schedules Public Hearing On Nassau Hub Redevelopment Plan

The New York Islanders have the number one draft pick in the NHL -- John Tavares. Now, Islanders fans need a first class Coliseum, and Long Islanders, a top destination spot.

And so comes the Lighthouse project, now seemingly moving forward, at least to the point where the Town of Hempstead -- under whose purview lies approval for planning and zoning -- has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, August 4.

Deeming the Lighthouse Environmental Report as "ready for review," the Town invites all interested parties -- including the public, whose interests are paramount here -- to voice their approval, as well as concerns, at the August 4th hearing, which will take place at the Cranford Adams Playhouse, south campus, Hofstra University, beginning at 9:30 AM.

The Lighthouse project is the most significant redevelopment initiative to come along in Nassau County in decades, and will have a tremendous impact on Long Island's future for generations to come.

Community input is vital, and this is your opportunity to be heard, as well as to be informed.

Those who cannot attend the August 4th public hearing in person are invited to comment by mail or e-mail.

By mail: Town of Hempstead, Lighthouse Project Public Comment, One Washington Street, Hempstead NY 11550

By e-mail:

All e-mails and other written correspondence must be received by August 17, 2009 to be included as part of the official record.

The hearing is, by no means, the final step in the approval process before shovel can hit dirt (and Kate can don her hard hat once again), but it is a necessary step in moving this long anticipated and much needed revitalization initiative toward reality.

It is imperative that proponents of the Lighthouse proposal come out to show their enthusiastic support for the Lighthouse, impressing upon the Town the urgency in moving the project forward without further undue delay, lest the August 4th public hearing become just another horse and pony show, the Town's nod to the project signifying nothing more than a wink along the campaign trail.

Be a part of Long Island's tomorrows by lending your thoughts, your vision, your voice, today!
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From The Town of Hempstead:

Murray and Town Board Declare Lighthouse Environmental Report "Ready for Public Review," Call August 4th Public Hearing

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town Board declared that a state-mandated environmental report by the developers of the Lighthouse Project is "ready for public review" at its July 7th meeting. Murray and the board also called an August 4th public hearing on the environmental issues surrounding the proposal to refurbish the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and develop the 150 acres surrounding the arena.

"Hempstead Town has worked tirelessly to move the state-mandated environmental review process forward in record time," stated Murray. "This action is significant because it marks the start of the public comment period and allows for a public hearing on environmental issues associated with the project."

As a result of the town board declaration that the environmental report is ready for review, a public comment period has commenced, whereby residents, involved agencies (New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation, the villages of Garden City and Hempstead, Nassau County Departments of Health and Public Works, the Town of Hempstead Water Department, Uniondale School District, local fire department(s), LIPA, etc.) and other groups can review the Lighthouse Group's environmental report and weigh-in with comments, views and recommendations. In broad terms, the environmental issues that are the subject of public comment and a hearing include the project's impact on traffic, drinking water availability/quality, air quality, the handling/processing of sanitary sewage, storm water runoff and the collection and disposal of garbage, among others.

The Supervisor and the Town Board called a public hearing to be held on the Lighthouse Group's proposal on Tuesday, August 4th at 9:30 a.m. The hearing will occur at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse on the south campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead. Testimony is expected to be heard from the developer, involved agencies, the public, community groups and others who wish to speak. Individuals who wish to view the developer's environmental report (DGEIS), can view it online at the town's website (www.TOH.LI). CD copies will also be available at local libraries within the township.

Click here to view theDraft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for "The Lighthouse at Long Island"

"I want to thank our residents in advance for their interest in this important proposed project," concluded Murray. "The input of involved agencies, fire district officials, community groups and the general public are very important as we consider an innovative and exciting development proposal. Rest assured the town will consider all of the testimony, evidence and relevant information as we proceed with state-mandated and other reviews regarding the Lighthouse Project. The entire Town Board is keenly focused on the promise of progressive development proposals while it seriously considers the impact of such projects on our environment and the quality of life enjoyed by our families and future generations."
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For additional insight into the Lighthouse, from the perspective of an independent advocate, visit Let There Be Light(house).

1 comment:

  1. It’s gratifying to see that this process is moving forward toward some kind of resolution; on the other hand, it’s tough for me to get too optimistic at this point. I have every expectation that right about now is when the there will be an absolute cacophony of local officials raising objections to this project. These voices will be heard at virtually every level of government, including God help us, any number of special districts.

    If you haven’t done so already, check out the Opinion section in yesterday’s Newsday for the article by Colin Goddard. He is the CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company that just this week announced that it is leaving Long Island after 26 years, in favor of Ardsley in Westchester. His article is a real primer on why, as an economy, Long Island is suffering from a serious competitive disadvantage. It also describes why it’s tough to get real optimistic about our long-term prospects, given our local leadership.

    Without getting too far into the weeds, there are two themes to his article. First, it’s extremely difficult to deal with an ossified decision making process, involving the various overlapping jurisdictions that get into the act whenever there’s a land use issue that needs to be resolved. To quote him exactly: “With its myriad villages, towns, county and state governments, most private companies moving at the pace of rapidly growing businesses view the potential for delays in the permitting process as a business risk – witness the Lighthouse Project debacle as an example.”

    The other point he raises is that, believe or not, in some places, governmental authorities actually try to make it easier and attractive for companies to locate their operations in their jurisdictions. To quote Goddard again, “By comparison, one phone call to a number of out-of-state jurisdictions elicited thorough and attractive government-led proposals…”

    A vivid illustration of what went wrong with OSI involves State Senator Charles Fuschillo who, according to Newsday, had concerns about draft legislation that would have granted the company a parcel of land. Without judging the merits of Senator Fuschillo’s concerns, which for all I know may have been valid, apparently there was never any clear resolution to this matter. According to Newsday, Senator Fuschillo indicated that he had raised his concerns, but no one in state government ever got back to him.

    Now think about that for a minute: here’s a State Senator and HE can’t get a response from state government? And if that’s the case, what’s the likelihood that a private business or individual citizen can get an answer in a timely fashion? And, by the way, none of this addresses the issue of why Senator Fuschillo didn’t make it his business to (literally or figuratively) pound on a desk and get an answer? Given the recent stalemate in Albany, it couldn’t have been because he didn’t have the time.

    The larger point is that government needs to see itself as an enabler and a problem-solver when it comes to economic development on Long Island, and there is scant evidence that this happens in anywhere near a sufficient degree.

    Perhaps in an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, Senator Fuschillo did indicate that he was happy that by virtue of OSI’s decision to relocate in Westchester, the company was at least staying in New York State. Left unstated, was precisely how this would help Long Island, including constituents in his own district who, at least theoretically, he is supposed to…you know…. represent.