On Feb. 27, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) released a draft scoping document for the proposed development at Belmont Park. The document reveals for the first time a significant expansion of the breadth of this project that had not been previously disclosed. In fact, certain aspects of this project that were disclosed yesterday are in direct contradiction to what the public had been previously told in writing.
The scope of the project now reaches well outside the two parcels to the south of the Belmont Race Track property. Among the most troubling additions to this proposal are:
1 – The plans to now use the north parking lot (which borders the Floral Park Bellerose School and many residences in the west end), despite prior written representations that excluded the north parking lot from this proposal;
2 – The addition of a 40,000 square feet electric substation to be situated next to the Floral Park Bellerose School; and
3 – The significant expansion of the previously proposed hotel to now be a 265-foot-high hotel, which would be one of the tallest buildings in Nassau County, if approved, with zoning setbacks, lot size, and building coverage requirements waived.
These problems are compounded by the fact that the Scoping Document proposes a study area of only ½ mile from two “project site” parcels to the south of the Belmont Race Track property for many analyses, even though it is now clear that the project will utilize significant areas to the north of the Race Track property as well. The net effect of this arbitrary approach will be to ensure that impact to residents in places like Bellerose and much of the Village of Floral Park are ignored.
As I have previously expressed to our residents, although the village has significant reservations about the proposal and even more significant concerns about the process that resulted in the proposal, we were working with all parties in good faith so that the village’s very legitimate concerns could be addressed and the proposal could be properly vetted and evaluated under the New York State’s environmental review process.
However, it appears that our good faith has gone unrecognized. This only heightens our concerns about the manner in which this process is being conducted. The new proposal clearly shows a direct impact to Floral Park and previous representations and written communication can be described as misleading, to put it mildly.
The village will continue, as always, to act in good faith. We also recognize the efforts made to date and continue to expect all parties to act in a professional manner to address all concerns relating to the proposed project in order to preserve the quality of life for all those who surround Belmont Park.
I have already reached out to state officials to express these thoughts and I ask that all residents carefully examine this document. I ask all to become actively involved. Rest assured that the entire Village Board, the Belmont Task Force and I are preparing for all possible scenarios and establishing plans of action.
A copy of the draft scoping document is available here: fpvillage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Draft-Scope-for-Preparation-of-a-Draft-Environmental-Impact-Statement.pdf.
The ESD has scheduled two back to back scoping hearings on a single day. These hearings will be held on March 22 at the Elmont Public Library, 700 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont. The first scoping hearing is from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. The second scoping hearing is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
In addition to the concerns discussed above, I invite residents to review of the village’s Dec. 8 and Dec. 11 correspondence concerning the proposed development at Belmont Park at: fpvillage.org/2017/12/27/empire-state-development-board-meeting-regarding-belmont-park.
—Dominick A. Longobardi
Mayor, Inc. Village of Floral Park