SANTINO JUMPS ON THE "MINI-CITY" BANDWAGONRefers to Wang, Rechler as "original developers"

Anthony Santino, senior councilman for the Town of Hempstead, has written a letter to residents supporting Kate Murray’s plan to “jump start” the “stalled” Lighthouse Project.


Essentially what Santino is doing is paving the way for Hempstead’s inevitable slashing of the project in June by two-thirds. The timing of Santino’s letter, after the recent double-dip of news of the Shinnecock Casino followed by the Islanders playing ball with the Mets, is not coincidental.


Santino writes the following:


Rather than waiting for the developer to realize that the original proposal sought to build far too much on the last major parcel of open space in the heart of our town, Supervisor Murray and I will be taking a leadership role in the creation of a scaled down rezoning plan that will pave the way for the construction of the Lighthouse.


In my view, the original plans submitted to the town would have changed the suburban character of our community and placed a mini-city – dotted with high rises – on Hempstead Turnpike. This plan would have strained the environment and created a traffic nightmare on surrounding roads.


The Lighthouse project needs to be scaled back before it moves forward so that town residents can enjoy its many economic benefits wuthout sacrificing the suburban character of our township. Supervisor Murray’s decision to take the lead in creating the new zoning required to build a scaled back Lighthouse is critical since it was clear that the original plan was flagging.


The original development group had withdrawn from participating in the environmental review and zoning process, failed to provide payments required for state mandated engineering/environmental reviews and failed to respond to questions that I raised at the September 22, 2009 zoning hearing on such important concerns as how already crowded roads could handle all the new traffic the project would generate.


(Holy crap, and you think I write run-on sentences).


Councilman Santino concludes:


Too much is at stake for the town to take a wait and see approach. Supervisor Murray and I intend to be proactive in the creation of a reasonable zoning plan that ensures that the Lighthouse gets built so that it spurs reasonable growth and development, expands the tax base, provides for construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities, and creates a new home for the New York Islanders.


Intriguing is Santino’s reference to “the original development group,” like Charles Wang and Scott Rechler are out of the picture. It’s also strange how he refers to his vision of a scaled-down development as the Lighthouse Project. If the architects’ plans are bulldozed as much as Murray and now Santino are preparing everyone for, the project is going to need a name that’s not so grand. The Hempstead Plain?


Oh, well – same old, same old like yesterday, right? At least Travis Hamonic should be signed in a few days. And then the draft comes a month after that. And then free agency in July.