From Guest Blogger Keith Scalia, Candidate for Oyster Bay Town Council....
Over the past several years, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and the Town Board have approved the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars on preventing the Taubman group from building a mall on the former Cerro Wire site. As recently as last week, Supervisor Venditto stated that he "won't be intimidated" by developers that are "corporate America profiteers" and "money-grabbers" that intend "bully" him. Moreover, www.venditto.com states that Supervisor Venditto will "continue to oppose development that erodes the unique character and quality of life we enjoy in our communities." While the supervisor and town board have done their due diligence for the residents of Birchwood, they have been inattentive and thoughtless in another community that lies a half mile from the Cerro Wire site.
The Syosset Mobile Home Park is a peaceful, close knit community of seventy families that consists of senior citizens, veterans, young families, and children. It has had a quiet history in the Town of Oyster Bay for over eighty years. On April 2, 2007 the park was sold to a developer, STP Associates, LLC., and the residents were devastated and blindsided by the sale. STP Associates, LLC has indicated that they would like to close down the park in order to develop the parcel and advised residents to take their homes and get off their land. Unfortunately, many of the residents' homes cannot be moved for a number of reasons. Moreover, residents will receive no compensation should they leave their homes behind. The residents of the community have invested their life savings into purchasing, furnishing and refurbishing their homes and are now facing the reality of their families becoming homeless or dependent upon public assistance.
Supervisor Venditto and the town board have turned a blind eye on the hundreds of residents that live in the Syosset Mobile Home Park. Abusive tactics by STP Associates has forced some residents to make the dreadful and unthinkable decision of abandoning their homes. Town Code has not been enforced and countless phone calls to the TOB Building Department regarding demolition of homes without proper permits have been ignored and unreturned by officials. Moreover, sewer lines remain uncapped and exposed creating a number of health issues for the remaining families.
When it has come to preventing development at the Cerro Wire site, Councilman Chris Coschignano has stated that "equality of life is the paramount issue" and "the Town Board held firm to protect it." However, when it comes to protecting the quality of life for the residents of the Syosset Mobile Home Park, Supervisor Venditto and the town board has stated that they need to "remain neutral." If Supervisor Venditto is the "hardworking, creative and dedicated leader" and "great proponent of family and community" that he claims to be, he must attend to the pressing needs of this great community with the same vigor that he has done with the Birchwood community.