WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Rare open space in Nassau County could soon be home to an unwanted building boom.
Residents of Woodmere worry that plans to develop housing on a recently sold private golf course are being shoved down their throats.
A fury has erupted in the Five Towns over the fate of the century-old Woodmere Club and its 110 pristine acres.
“We let our elected officials know that we’re watching very carefully, we’re watching to see how they respond to this,” said Josh Justic of the Five Towns Civic Association.
Members of the Five Town Civic Association are furious to discover documents that appear to outline developers’ initial plan for 300 homes on 1/8th acre plots now scaled back to 150 homes on half acre properties.
“By the way the proposal is written, it looks like this is a fait accompli, houses on half acres,” CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan said to Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.
“That is absolutely not the case. I think what we’ve done here is the town has put forth a comprehensive engineering report to see how we could help protect their quality of life in the Five Towns,” D’Esposito said.
McLogan asked D’Esposito and Councilman Bruce Blakeman why the proposals are written so specifically.
“Residents think the town council is being paid off by the developer,” McLogan said.
“Well, I can’t imagine why any developer would want to pay us off to severely restrict what they can do there,” Blakeman said.
The council members say they are the ones who caught the developer’s plans for 300 homes, demanded zoning changes following a year and a half moratorium, and made their working documents available to the public, McLogan reported.
Residents, however, claim they were never notified.
“It breaks my heart, because this has been — it’s a mainstay,” said Leonore Weidenfeld of the Five Towns Civic Association. “If you take away land, you’ll never get the land back.”
Where is the wood in Woodmere? Kiss the flora and fauna goodbye, they say.
“The number of homes involved will add hundreds of cars, emissions, traffic,” said Pearl Bruger of the Five Towns Civic Association.
“What are they going to hit when they start digging? How that’s going to affect all of us in the neighborhood?” said Danielle Abromovitz. “Plumbing backups, sewage… it’s opening up a can of worms.”
The protest is alive on social media. Who will pay for the infrastructure required to build 150 homes?
“It sounds like a done deal, though, for the 150 houses?” McLogan asked Blakeman.
“It is not a done deal. That is why we have a public hearing,” he said.
The community meeting on zoning changes will be held at the Lawrence Woodmere Academy on Monday evening. A vote could be mere weeks away.