Villadom Application Withdrawn But Opponents Press On

Opponents of the Villadom project say they’ll still show up at a Town Board session Thursday night, even though the application has been withdrawn and a public hearing on the project canceled.

On Wednesday, the town announced that the hearing had been adjourned at the request of the applicant.

The latest drama in the long-fought battle over the project began Wednesday when lawyers for Syndicated Ventures, LLC delivered a  to request adjournment of the hearing. The letter said the applicant would amend its application, as a result of communications with the community members and the Town Planning Board.

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said, “In light of the new information received by the Town, the May 17 public hearings must be adjourned. “The hearing may only be rescheduled to a later date at the discretion of the Town Board.”

The regular Town Board meeting will still go on at Elwood Middle School, where the public hearing was moved in anticipation of large crowds.

But many opponents are planning to let Town Board members know they’re still against the $80-million proposal for what developers call Elwood Orchard, which would require an amendment to the town’s comprehensive plan, Horizons 2020, as well as a zoning change.

Town Board member Edmund Smyth wrote, “The public hearing was scheduled for a specific time, date, and place by resolution of the town board. Only a subsequent vote of the town board can amend it.

Councilman Ed Smyth

“The applicants’ options at this point are to go forward with the public hearing, ask a court to stay the hearing, or withdraw it entirely.  Press releases notwithstanding, a unilateral adjournment is a legal nullity.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Villadom public hearing is going forward tomorrow as scheduled unless the applicant withdraws it, gets a court-ordered stay, or finds three council members to vote to adjourn it. ”

“Everyone, please continue to go to Elwood Middle School tonight…to show the Town Board what Villadom is up against no matter what they bring to the table. This was their plan all along to bait and switch us,” one poster wrote on the Stop the Villadom Mall page on Facebook.

Another wrote, “We need to let the town board know that we do not want any change to the comprehensive plan, that whatever (developer Kris) Torkan comes back with is not acceptable after what he put us through, and that we are not going away.”

Plans for a shuttle are still on: Organizers have arranged for a shuttle from the Pathmark shopping center across the street from the proposed project that will take people to Elwood Middle School.

A corner of the 56.01-acre property at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Manor Road now houses a small strip mall, while another 6.73-acre section has a single-family home that will be unaffected by the proposal and will be subdivided from the larger parcel. The remainder of the land is undeveloped, covered with steep slopes and woods in part and home to once-mined sand piles that show the traces of ATV tracks.

The proposal for calls for 49.28 acres of the site to be re-zoned C-5 in support of a 486,380-square-foot commercial center on Jericho Turnpike. The C-5 designation is a planned shopping center mixed-use commercial development, a change from its current zoning of R-40 residential and C-6 general business. The development is within the Elwood School District and the Greenlawn fire and water districts.

This is the third proposal for the site since 2000 that seeks expanded commercial use and a higher density of development than the property’s current zoning allows. A housing proposal was rejected partly because it did not meet comprehensive plan guidelines, and the Town Board asked the Planning Board to prepare a proposed amendment to the comprehensive plan.

With Kay Blough



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