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Social Media Enters Fight Against Taubman Mall

No Mall Here Facebook Page and Twitter Account Up and Running The Cerro Wire Coalition (CWC), which has been waging an almost 15-year battle against a proposed Syosset mall, has joined the ranks of social media with the launch of a Facebook page and Twitter account under the name: No Mall Here (no spaces for Twitter).

“This will serve as another communications tool for us to keep the community informed about the project and it allows the opportunity for ongoing dialogue as well,” said chairman Todd Fabricant. “We’ve already seen the effectiveness Facebook can have on real estate development and the ability to share information on an almost instantaneous basis is very exciting.”

Activity involving the proposed mall on Robbins Lane on the former Cerro Wire property has remained relatively quiet since June 2009 when the New York State Court of Appeals—the state’s highest court—denied a request by the Taubman Company to hear an appeal of an earlier Appellate Court ruling effectively upholding both the community’s and the Town of Oyster Bay’s rights to decide the fate of the mall project. In order to move ahead, the court directed Taubman to submit detailed environmental studies and plans for a reduced size 750,000 square foot mall before the town would determine whether to grant the zoning approval required to move ahead with the project. Taubman’s proposal, first submitted in the late 1990s, called for an 860,000 square foot mall. That application was voted down overwhelmingly by the town board in June 2001 and has been winding its way through the courts ever since.

According to Fabricant, the word on the street is that the developer appears to be gearing up for another push for the mall, and sometime soon.

“All signs point toward Taubman filing its plans and the required environmental documents to the Town of Oyster Bay in early 2011,” Fabricant said. “Once that happens, the whole process starts all over again. As we have in the past, we’ll be armed and ready to go back to war. It’s unfortunate that Taubman chooses to try and shove this ill-fated project down the throats of the town and its residents instead of working with us on the alternate development concept the community favors.”

The alternate development referred to by Fabricant was first unveiled in 2007 following a year-long process that involved local community leaders meeting with some of the nation’s leading real estate developers to explore alternate options for developing the 39-acre parcel. The resulting plan calls for a smart-growth, mixed use project that includes sorely needed senior and next generation housing, a boutique-styled hotel, office space and a small component of retail, just the type of development many experts have said is desirable for the region. The alternate development concept would put thousands of building trades workers back on the job and provide tens of millions of dollars more in economic benefit over the long haul, according to a study conducted by Martin Cantor, one of Long Island’s leading economists and director of Dowling College’s LI Economic and Social Policy Institute.

“The alternate development plan remains a viable solution for finally turning this brownfield parcel into productive use,” said Warren Church, chairman of the Cerro Wire Coalition’s Alternate Development Committee and president of the Syosset Groves Civic Association. “It’s the type of needed project that is being talked about constantly among those in Long Island’s real estate ranks and something the community supports. Although Taubman has rejected our previous attempts to work with us on our alternate development plan, the door will always remain open to initiating those discussions. In the meantime, the Cerro Wire Coalition is stronger than ever and we are prepared to continue our No Mall Here fight for as long as it takes to ensure that the proposed mall is never built,” Church concluded.