Development Changes A ‘Drastic Departure’

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On April 26, the Glen Cove Community Development Agency and the Industrial Development Agency met in a special joint session. One of the subjects at hand was the “RXR Garvies Point Infrastructure Discussion,” but in reality this discussion had to do with upcoming Land Development Agreement amendments and the acceptance by the boards of a provider for Tax Incremental Financing (TIF). Chairman Spinello and special counsel Mike Zarin proposed that financing by Citigroup be approved for infrastructure construction such as esplanade, bulkheads and parks. They also stated that there was consideration to not convey some of the acreage (28 acres) to RXR but to retain ownership of those lands and amenities to be built by the TIF funds.

The original LDA was signed by Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp on May 14, 2003, and there was one amendment by her administration signed in 2005. There were three amendments to that contract under the Suozzi administration between 2008 and 2012; and there have been four amendments by the current Spinello administration between 2014 and 2015. The Spinello administration is currently defending two lawsuits against the boards’ recent approvals to site plan changes. Further amendments or changes may exacerbate those costs.

Since its inception, the LDA has required the developer to bear all costs, including construction and maintenance for the public amenities and infrastructure, to the proposed redevelopment of 56 acres known now as the Garvies Point Project. They are responsible for all taxes on the same. Should the CDA/IDA retain ownership of these 28 acres, no taxes would be realized by the city on those lands. Why in the world would the administration and boards amend the contract and offer to take on these expenses, liabilities and reduction in tax revenue to the city when it has always been the intent of the city to get all these lands back on the tax rolls?

City zoning law allows for a Planned Unit Development in the MW3 Waterfront District. A PUD is required to have 25 contiguous acres and may include parcels on the north side of Garvies Point Road at the discretion of the Planning Board. However, with the non-conveyance of approximately 28 acres, the properties are broken up, are no longer contiguous and, at best, add up to 28 acres ultimately owned by the developer. The PUD Zoning allows for 20 units per acre. Should the Planning Board decide that the project is still considered contiguous, does this mean the developer is reducing the density from 1,110 units to 480 in consideration of the reduction in acreage?

In addition to the recent site plan amendments and approvals, the new proposal changes the ownership of lands, reduces acreage and subsequently reduces tax revenue from what had been previously presented in the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) and FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) during SEQRA review. I have been a supporter of this project for many years, but these changes are a drastic departure and more than sufficient for the Planning Board to require a new application and SEQRA review. Otherwise we, the residents, are all going to suffer by further subsidizing this project.

—Drew Lawrence
CDA Board Member 2007-2013

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