WOODMERE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some homeowners in Nassau County are upset over what they call back-room deals that will lead to hundreds of homes on a private golf course.

The property was recently sold to a developer, but officials say the plan is far from a done deal. So who’s in the right?

The emotions of passionate taxpayers reached a tipping point in may and haven’t showed signs of dying down.

“We let our elected officials know we’re watching them very carefully,” one man said.

Five Towns residents believe pressure put on their Hempstead Town council members postponed last month’s zoning vote that’s been rescheduled for Tuesday. Members of the community say officials have already made up their mind on the proposed development.

“I for one have not made up my mind,” Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said. “I only received the report Friday, I’m still reviewing it. I think we need time to talk to the community.”

That’s just what the community has demanded, claiming they haven’t had a chance to digest the new zoning report, the environmental report, nor have they seen plans from the new owner of the Woodmere Club, Efram Gerszberg.

Gerszberg denied CBS2’s request for an on-camera interview.

“I’m hoping we can come to some sort of resolution on the zoning quickly,” Hempstead’s new Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said.

Gillen has pledged transparency, as the proposal has been scaled back from 350 to 121 homes on one acre and half-acre lots to be built on marshy land amid flora and fauna.

The golf course, with waning membership, was sold. Locals hold out hope that the land can become a park, but remain skeptical as they wonder if developers and council members are in lock-step.

Officials say that’s not the case.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Councilman Bruce Blakeman said. “It’s complete nonsense, how some people could say we are aligning ourselves with the developer is so completely untrue, it is defamatory.”

For now it appears Tuesday’s zoning vote will once again be adjourned, and many worry it will be postponed until July or August when many are away on vacation.

Council members are promising that residents will be allowed to weigh in on the matter, and they’ll get a fair opportunity to review all studies and proposals.


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