By Lindsay Christ
The Hempstead Town Board’s public hearing for the zoning of the Lighthouse Project on Sept. 22 took was much more boisterous than prior meetings on the subject.
Town Supervisor Kate Murray and town officials questioned the developers, who want to redevelop the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum and the 150 acres surrounding it, regarding their concerns of the project’s size and scope while residents took turns to state their own opinions, both for and against. Questions and answers between the developers’ consultants and the Board became so heated at one point that Charles Wang, the Islanders’ owner and a driving force behind the project, told the board, “I don’t appreciate you badgering our consultants,” which generated both applause and boos from the crowd.
Residents of surrounding communities voiced their concerns regarding drinking water, sewage treatment and how this would change the landscape, while critics and supporters took turns heckling one another. Wang asked that the he receive approval by Oct. 3, the start of the hockey season, although it remained unclear if town officials would meet that goal. Meanwhile, the Islanders continued to tour other cities that have expressed interest in the team. Wang has said that if the project is not approved, he will move the team.
As for Wang’s deadline, Murray said: “Projects such as this will change the face of the suburbs for generations to come. Doing our job right is more important that doing it fast.”
Those who wish to submit their opinion can do so by sending an email to [email protected] or sending a letter addressed to Town of Hempstead, Lighthouse Project Public Comment, 1 Washington St., Hempstead NY 11550.