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Oyster Bay Voters Weigh In On Controversial Land Sale

Sale Of Land Could Prevent Luxury Mall From Being Built On Property
Rally in Oyster Bay in favor of referendum on land deal, August 20, 2013. (credit: Mike Xirinachs/WCBS 880)

Rally in Oyster Bay in favor of referendum on land deal, August 20, 2013. (credit: Mike Xirinachs/WCBS 880)

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Voters in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island are weighing in on a controversial land deal that’s been the focus of a battle for nearly two decades.

A vote of yes on the referendum would allow the town to sell the 54-acre tract of land for $32 million and prevent a luxury mall from being built on it.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, a no vote will keep the nearly 20-year-old fight over the property in Syosset alive.

Town Supervisor John Venditto has voiced support for a yes vote.

“Price is only one component because we have to consider what is going to become of this property once we sell it,” Town Supervisor John Venditto said. “We’re not only looking for the best price but we are looking for the best deal for the town of Oyster Bay and its residents.”

Venditto said the mall is “not welcome in the town of Oyster Bay.”

Taubman Centers, the group proposing the luxury mall for the site, has promised to continue its fight for the controversial land, even if its sale is approved through the referendum.

The group Long Island Jobs Now has urged residents to vote no, saying the town didn’t go through the proper process in selling the land and, as a result, cost Oyster Bay the opportunity to generate more money.

“The situation has gone on far too long and that the town of Oyster Bay should come to some resolve,” Desmond Ryan with the Association for a Better Long Island told Xirinachs. “The referendum itself will, I think at the end of the day, just continue to enhance the controversy over this property, no matter what happens.”

The group has not picked a side in the battle, but rather just wants resolution soon.

“We do not take a position one way or the other. This is strictly a battle between two titans – may the best man win,” said Ryan.

The polls are open until 9 p.m.

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