LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Long Beach in Nassau County has been in fiscal trouble for years.
Now the popular beachside city has learned it must pay more than $130 million for revoking a permit on oceanfront condos.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the beautiful, sparkling waters off the Long Beach boardwalk, adjacent to a massive vacant lot at the crux of an historic condo development battle that has dragged on for three decades.
“What’s the vacant property just sitting there for?” one person said.
“The city has proven time after time that it mismanages,” said another.
“For the rest of the city of Long Beach to be on the hook,” another person said.
Taxpayers are just learning that a supreme court judge has ruled against their financially strapped city.
“You say $131 million is a lot of money, and you’d be right. But in this case, it’s all the city of Long Beach’s fault,” said attorney Christopher McGrath.
A Long Beach native and developer, Sinclair Haberman, who owns the land on Shore and Lincoln built Sea Pointe Towers, but then was thwarted through the years by various city managers from developing three more 10-story condos, and tearing down apartments across the street.
“Why? Because they didn’t want it to affect the next election,” McGrath said.
The judge ruled that failure over the years cost the owner more than $100 million in lost revenue.
“Our city is struggling so much financially, and for someone to be awarded that type of money to develop this land is absolutely crazy,” said Long Beach resident Nicole Jonas.
Others are sick of the eyesore, and are banking on city bonds or insurance coming to the rescue.
The city says the current administration was blindsided by the huge judgment in the 31-year-old case. It can no longer argue liability, but will challenge and appeal what’s called exorbitant damages owed to the developer.
The condos will be luxury.
“Yeah, they go for over a million dollars, and who can afford that?” said Long Beach resident Rhonda Pegerski.
“I really feel like it will bring more revenue into Long Beach, but I also feel like we also need more housing for the less fortunate,” said Long Beach resident Melanie English.
Residents are waiting to hear from their new city manager just how this $131 million settlement will be resolved.
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