OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – By a two-to-one margin, voters in Oyster Bay have approved a referendum to sell a controversial plot of land and, by doing so, rejecting the construction of a mall on the parcel.
But as CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, a developer says he will still build after nearly two decades of fighting.
The plan calls for a luxury mall in the Oyster Bay section of Syosset, off the Long Island Expressway. The future of the site for which the mall has been proposed has been deadlocked.
But as WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, Residents who voted yes to the 54-acre land sale for $32 million said the luxury mall proposal was just wrong for the community.
“The community is the community and I think just bringing another mall here is just going to be bringing in a lot of crowding, a lot of traffic,” Oyster Bay resident Art Burg told Xirinachs.
But the future of the site — Cerro Wire for a company long gone — remains unclear.
For 18 years, Taubman Centers has been trying to build an upscale mall here with Barneys, and the first Nieman Marcus on Long Island.
But the community waged battle.
“The traffic counts were 4,000 cars per hour, and that’s without holiday shopping,” said Todd Fabricant of the Cerro Wire Coalition. “We’re talking about a quality of life.”
And the debate has gotten ugly. Voters were asked to approve the Town of Oyster Bay’s selling adjacent land to Taubman’s competitors – the owners of nearby Roosevelt Field Mall – for the purpose of blocking Taubman from building bigger.
Voters on approved the sale to the competitor in Tuesday. The competitor said it will build smart, with housing, offices, retail and green space.
Meanwhile, Taubman has taken the battle to court.
“They will continue with plans to build a mall they are allowed to build, and it’s a disgrace that for the last 18 years the town has squandered its resources,” said Taubman attorney Ronald Rosenberg.
So after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on a referendum, the prime Long Island real estate remains in limbo.
“A mall is not the worst thing that could happen here<” said Gary Schacker of the Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island. “The worst thing that could happen is nothing and that’s the problem, It’s been nothing.”
One political observer likened the vote to a popularity contest with no particular consequences. Whether or not Long Island gets a new mall here will ultimately be decided in the courthouse.
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