The following was published in Long Island Business News’ Young Island
Recently, there have been a number of items in the news that I feel warrant discussion. Rather than pick just one, however, the following is a series of rants on the various land use issues of the day.
1. Recently, Long Island Business News ran a piece that celebrated the 60th anniversary of Long Island developer company Breslin Realty. The piece was one of the most entertaining pieces I’ve read thanks to both the candor and bluntness of Wilbur Breslin. While I don’t always agree with his development proposals (Heartland and the “Willy World” project in the late 80s comes to mind), I respect his straightforwardness in the interview. It was refreshing to see him speak his mind. Sadly, this is a rarity on Long Island, which is full of self-congratulatory pats on the back and kowtowing. I only hope to be in the field as long as Mr. Breslin, and trust my instincts as it seems he does.
2. There has been an interesting development in the Syosset Mall saga. It seems that Simon Property Group, owner of Roosevelt Field, Walt Whitman Shops and Smith Haven Mall, has purchased a large parcel from the town of Oyster Bay right next to the Cerro Wire property. This purchase effectively blocks the prospect of constructing a mall by the Taubman Company at that location. The mall wasn’t a good idea to begin with, but the land grab was shady, so I’m conflicted on the whole issue. This all just goes to show the importance of having a comprehensive plan in place, so there is a rhyme and reason to these things.
3. The Town of Brookhaven should tread carefully in its proposal to increase density in Middle Island. We need the units, but if density is to be increased, the public needs true community benefits to offset the unit gain. Further, the units need to be truly affordable for young professionals, and be located in reasonable locations. As a whole, Long Island should be moving towards adaptive reuse instead of building on virgin land. We are running out of open space after all.
4. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has come under fire for not giving enough advance warning concerning Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge. In Suffolk, the county criticized the NOAA for not giving warnings in a timely fashion, while in Nassau, they commended the forecasters on staff. I have to agree with those in Mineola on this one; planners have been discussing Long Island’s vulnerability to coastal storms for decades, and we all knew Hurricane Sandy was coming well in advance. Hurricanes create very strong surges, and we knew the powerful storm was poised to hit right as high tides peaked. Of all the lessons we as a region need to learn from Hurricane Sandy, blaming the NOAA for not giving information “in a timely manner” is not one of them.
Richard Murdocco is a digital marketing analyst for Teachers Federal Credit Union, although the views expressed in this post are Murdocco’s alone and not shared by TFCU. Follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.