Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oyster Bay Said 'Go Away,' So Avalon Says Good Bye

Avalon Bay has formally withdrawn its proposal to build 300 rental units in Oyster Bay, which, considering that Town officials told them two weeks ago that they wouldn’t approve the development, means that if nothing else the Avalon people have the sense to know when they’re licked.

Friends of the Bay had opposed the development from the beginning, fearing that it would damage Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor, which has some interesting and valuable natural resources, including the Frank M. Flower & Sons oyster company, the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and a terrific population of diamondback terrapins.

Here, in part, is what the East Norwich Civic Association and Friends of the Bay said in a press release:

In a July 6th letter from their attorneys, AvalonBay advised the Town of Oyster Bay of their ".formal withdrawal of all aspects of the pending application." in regards to their proposed 'Avalon at Oyster Bay' project. The Town Board is expected to officially accept AvalonBay's withdrawal at an upcoming Board meeting. In a community where 43% of the housing is already rentals, Avalon's application had sought a 300-unit luxury rental complex on a site well outside the Hamlet's downtown, and creation of a brand new zoning category that would establish the basis for other applicable 5-acre sites to be developed at a density of 60 units/acre throughout the entire Town of Oyster Bay, nearly 4 times the Town's maximum density of 16 units/acre (other than senior housing). Avalon's application did not contain a component for senior or next generation housing, or any similar component.

"We are, of course, pleased by AvalonBay's decision," says Kyle Rabin, Friends of the Bay Executive Director and founding member of the Coalition to Stop Avalon. "Avalon's proposed complex would have been the tipping point for the local environment and this community. The project's precedent-setting nature and growth-inducing impacts would have had an adverse cumulative impact on the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Estuary and the surrounding watershed. We applaud Supervisor Venditto and the Town of Oyster Bay for sending such a strong and clear message. With the application off the table, now is an appropriate time to discuss alternative uses for this site in a forum that is respectful to the best interests of the property owner, Island Properties, and the community. As important, this project reinforces the clear need for a true Smart Growth strategy rooted in comprehensive watershed-based planning for the communities surrounding the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor Estuary."


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