Monday, March 12, 2007

Venditto Acts With His Finger in the Air to See Which Way the Wind is Blowing

And Newsday takes him to task on it.

Newsday points out the incredible lack of vision and leadership of TOBAY Supervisor John Venditto. Keep in mind, a project in his own backyard "the calming of Broadway" in N. Massapequa has been a 6+ year mess.
Since Wang can just build what the property is zoned for, the community and the Town of Oyster Bay lose a chance to be a part of a developers planning process. What could be the start of a new Long Island, the property will now be the same old development that continues to blight and crowd Long Island. Wang held his hand out in cooperation and instead of meeting halfway, Venditto smacked the hand away.
Three cheers for Venditto on squandering the perfect chance to give Long Island developers a push in the right direction.

No vision in Oyster Bay
Instead of leading on Wang proposal, Venditto just bends with the wind

March 9, 2007
Smart growth can't happen without smart leadership.
Clearly, there is none in the Town of Oyster Bay. The decision by the developers of the Old Plainview project to withdraw their ambitious and intelligent proposal demonstrates once again that Supervisor John Venditto doesn't have the vision needed to move his town into the future. Charles Wang and Scott Rechler abruptly withdrew their 166-acre mixed-use project on Tuesday evening, after it had become clear that Venditto was willing to let another worthy development turn into a protracted battle with some NIMBY civic groups. Wang says he will now go ahead and construct what the current zoning allows - two big office buildings and 45 single-family homes - but definitely not what Long Island needs. While Wang needs to bring the heat down to a simmer, Venditto needs to step forward and broker a compromise for the land bounded by Round Swamp and Old County roads, just off the Long Island Expressway. A deal that lowers the density somewhat but increases the allotment of senior and next-generation housing would still keep the best of the original proposal. This mix of townhouse homes, rental apartments, offices, a hotel and supermarket plus 40 acres of parkland would be a big step toward sustainable growth. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation link.
To sweeten the pot, the developers had also agreed to give $6.5 million to the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District for capital spending, on top of an estimated $5 million a year in tax revenues.
The Oyster Bay supervisor should be making his town a showcase for the reinvention of suburbia. Instead, under his watch the town is stagnating: The Cerro Wire site in Syosset is tied up in a legal battle, Avalon Bay's attempt to build apartments in the hamlet of Oyster Bay is stalled and smaller projects, even a supermarket, are trapped by indecision.
Of course, Venditto's proclivity to cede his power to the rabble is aided by the silence of those who support Old Plainview or the development concepts it embodies - especially those professional associations and foundations who talk the talk about smart growth but who won't walk the walk. Venditto needs to find his voice as well and start a dialogue about how Old Plainview could be made to work.

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