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Letter: Bank Building Or Park – Your Call

The communities of Glen Head and Glenwood Landing have a unique opportunity to decide how central Glen Head will look; now and for generations to come. After years of fenced-in stagnation, the former Sunoco Service station at the corner of Glen Cove Avenue and Glen Head Road will be developed and the Community will have a say in what goes there. For some background, the Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) negotiated a contract with Sunoco Corporation to purchase the property and it was TOB’s publicly stated intent to make it a Town Park.  Sunoco did not live up to the terms of the contract by removing the resident oil contaminants and the TOB, correctly, cancelled the purchase agreement. But Sunoco has now cleaned the property and development can start. But what is to be developed there? The originally envisioned Town Park or a new two-story bank building owned by the First National Bank of Long Island (Bank)? George Pombar, president of the Glen Head-Glenwood Civic Council, an association of 10 local civics, has organized a meeting of invited TOB representatives and Bank personnel to discuss both proposals so our community can understand the residential impact when one of the proposals is selected. This meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the North Shore Middle School.

Now I’m a park guy. I believe nothing defines a community more than a public park; like Central Park in Manhattan.  The idea of green space in a commercial downtown is an opportunity we have never had in Glen Head and one we cannot let pass by. I understand some park critics who say, “Taking commercial property off the tax rolls is devastating.” So I checked, and lost tax revenue is miniscule. The property in 2012 generated $39,174 in town and school taxes combined. In 2013, Sunoco will pay $20,049 in property taxes and $21,145 in school taxes (source: Nassau County Tax Data). In terms of budgets that would mean a tax revenue loss of 0.016% in property tax and a loss of 0.023 percent in school tax revenue.  Sure the critics say that’s for non-productive land, but what about a bank building? My understanding is the bank would pay an additional $90,000 in total taxes. The lost tax revenue of a community park has virtually no impact on our overall taxes.

More critics say, what about graffiti, vandalism, and property maintenance and security? I checked with the TOB and a senior official said a local comparable Town Park and the Tappan Park and Marina have next to zero number of disruptive incidents in the past year (since 2012). But won’t a new town park increase our taxes for the property acquisition, upkeep and security. Well, the funds for the acquisition of the Sunoco property have already been appropriated but our taxes will go up; and so will the taxes of Hicksville, Wantagh and Massapequa becomes it’s a town park and those communities, as are we, are TOB residents.

I believe we have a unique opportunity to vastly improve downtown Glen Head by allowing Supervisor Venditto and the TOB to give us the community park they promised. I urge everyone to attend the community meeting on March 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the North Shore Middle School. Hear the proposals, see a model of what the park could look like, hear what the bank will develop but most importantly, understand first -hand the facts of our Glen Head “Four Corner” development.

John A Dussel

Glen Head