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The Courts Agree – No Mall Here

Town and Local Civics Win Battle Against Taubman Company

It only took 14 years, but a final decision has been rendered regarding Syosset’s 39-acre Cerro Wire property – there will be ‘no mall here.’

The case, which has been steamrolling since the late 1990s, has been in the hands of the court system since 2001 after the Town of Oyster Bay Board denied the Taubman Company’s application for a special use permit to construct an upscale mall, dubbed the Mall at Oyster Bay, which was to be anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Barneys New York.

After numerous court decisions and subsequent appeals, the Court of Appeals finally made the last and final decision earlier this week denying Taubman’s claim and ultimately saying “no mall here,” which has been the mantra of the local civic organizations since they started this fight over a decade ago.

The next step for Taubman, if they want to continue the application process for a special use permit, would be to go back to the Town of Oyster Bay and start the process from the beginning including having new environmental studies completed.

“We are obviously disappointed by this decision,” said Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the Taubman Company. “Our response will be to look at our options and decide, in time, how best to proceed.”

According to Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, the town will send the Taubman Company a letter within 30 days outlining what they need to submit to the town if they decide to move forward with the application.

If the Taubman Company does decide to re-apply for a special use permit with the town, they will have to complete new environmental studies, taking into account how the area has changed since they had these studies first completed approximately 10 years ago.

“I have been saying for some time now that it was going to come to this,” said Venditto. “The highest court in the state has affirmed what we have been saying.”

Venditto explained that the town is not “anti-mall,” but they are against development that doesn’t make sense and suggested that the Taubman Company start to consider alternate development. “We want development that makes sense for that area and alternate development is something we could all work together on. The community could have input, the developer would be making money and we would be creating jobs,” he said.

Venditto said that a good place to start when considering alternate development is something that benefits the town’s housing needs with a mixed residential use including retail space as well. Working with the town and the community, he said, is important.

“The entire coalition is very excited to hear the most recent announcement from the Court of Appeals,” said coalition president Todd Fabricant, who led the fight against the mall. “We are very grateful to Supervisor John Venditto and the town and we look forward to hopefully talking about alternate development with the Taubman Company soon.”

Venditto said that the town is ready for the next phase, whatever that may be. “We are ready to talk about alternate development or if they want to press on we will be ready for that as well,” he said.

There is no timetable given by the Taubman Company for their decision of what the next phase might be.