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Mayor Cavallaro Comments on the Lighthouse Project

Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro last week submitted written comments to the Hempstead Town Board relating to the Lighthouse Development Project currently under consideration for the Nassau Coliseum site in Uniondale.

As far back as 2005, Cavallaro, then a village trustee, expressed public support for the project because of the community development and economic opportunities (jobs, etc.) that the project promises for the region. Cavallaro said that he still supports the project, despite the very significant magnitude of the proposal, and the potential for it to have impacts (both positive and negative) to Nassau County in the future. Cavallaro said that, “if done right, the project will have far more positive benefits than detrimental effects.”

Cavallaro indicated, however, that it is important that the Town of Hempstead “get it right” and follow all of the correct procedures to make sure that all concerns are addressed and so that the public has confidence in the project and the manner in which it is approved.

Cavallaro’s written comments primarily address two points:

First, Cavallaro called on the Town of Hempstead to require that the developer expand the scope of the environmental review so as to identify and analyze the potential impacts of the project, north of Old Country Road, to see how communities like Westbury (and Carle Place, New Cassel, Mineola, etc.) will be impacted.

“Right now, the impact study stops short, at Old Country Road, and does not take Westbury into account. As the ‘lead agency’ under New York’s SEQRA law, the Town of Hempstead is required to perform an impact study to measure all impacts, not just those that affect its residents,” noted Cavallaro.

In order to protect the interests of Westbury’s residents, Cavallaro has asked the Hempstead Town Board to review potential impacts to Westbury (including potential traffic impacts), and has asked that appropriate mitigation measures be included in the final plans for the project.

Second, Cavallaro reiterated his long-standing proposal that the property tax benefits of the Lighthouse (tens of millions of new tax dollars are expected to be generated) should be equitably distributed to all affected communities, not just those that have the benefit of having the site within its borders.

“The impacts of the Lighthouse Project will be felt by communities outside of the Uniondale school district, and all affected communities, including Westbury, should receive some of the benefit,” said Cavallaro, who added that his idea is a simple concept of fairness and equity that should be made a part of the “mitigation plan” that SEQRA requires the applicant to produce.