There is no current application from Brookfield Properties in front of the Town of North Hempstead, but residents are already gearing up for a fight. A petition against the development of the Macy’s property on Northern Boulevard into apartment complexes, a hotel and retail space already has 1,021 signatures at time of publication.
The petition, led by Munsey Park resident Jen Tantillo, a member of Concerned Citizens of Manhasset, can be found at www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-re-zoning-of-macys-from-commercial-to-residential-use.html. Concerned Citizens of Manhasset was also the group that successfully led the opposition against the proposed medicinal marijuana dispensary on 1575 Northern Blvd.
“The petition specifically, was to be preemptive, get in front of the eight ball instead of behind the eight ball,” said Tantillo. “This company, Brookfield Properties, has made a proposal for what they want to do with this specific space. They put a lot of thought behind this and went to the extent to have meetings. They did say they were going to put in a formal application by the end of this month.”
Macy’s has partnered with Brookfield Properties to redevelop multiple properties across the United States and the proposed location in Manhasset is just the latest. The opposition to the development was sparked by growing traffic congestion on main roads, such as Northern Boulevard and the potential overcrowding and financial burden on the Manhasset School District.
“I am completely opposed to the project,” said Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio. “I have heard my community, the local mayors and I stand with them. They are completely opposed to the development and I agree with them. It’s too dense. It’s just not in character with the community here.”
De Giorgio also expressed that she does not believe an application from Brookfield is coming anytime soon.
“This whole idea that this application is about to be presented to the town board is not accurate,” De Giorgio told the Manhasset Press.
Brookfield Properties says they will be sending the Town of North Hempstead an application “imminently.”
In a previous presentation to the Greater Council of Manhasset Civic Association, Brookfield Properties called the project Manhasset Square. However, they did not present any solutions to the growing traffic concerns or address the annual $26,200 in costs for a student to attend Manhasset School District.
“Traffic has been a main concern of both elected officials and community stakeholders since learning about the project. Brookfield will provide a complete traffic impact analysis with its formal application to the Town of North Hempstead,” Brookfield said in a statement to the Manhasset Press. “The key concepts of the project are placemaking, community building, economic benefit and ongoing vitality. The development is thoughtfully planned with beautiful design and sustainability in mind. The project will provide numerous social and economic benefits to Manhasset and the Town of North Hempstead.”
Tantillo believes the roads may have to get revamped before a Brookfield project can get started. It is not known if Brookfield will play a role in expanding the roadways for the Town of North Hempstead to allow the application to go through.
“The main concern of the majority of residents is that the traffic on these roads—Northern Boulevard, Shelter Rock Road, Searingtown Road, Port Washington Boulevard—during happy hour can be horrible to navigate through,” said Tantillo. “It doesn’t just concern Manhasset, all the neighboring towns would be affected, if this development was approved. There is the potential that 1,100 to 1,400 residents could move into that location, that would cause an absolute traffic nightmare.”
If an application is brought to the Town of North Hempstead, Brookfield will have to go to the zoning board in order to get approval from commercial to residential zoning.
Tantillo and Concerned Citizens of Manhasset hosted an information session for residents at Strathmore Country Club on Tuesday, June 25.
“We’re not naïve to think that this property would not be developed at some stage down the road with maybe Brookfield developers or somebody else,” said Tantillo. “What we’re trying to do is get something that actually benefits the community and maybe our school systems specifically and not cause more chaos and that is what their proposal seems to indicate as far as all the residents are concerned.”