With deadline near, Island Park development in doubt


With his self-imposed deadline looming next week, developer Michael Posillico, the CEO of Farmingdale-based Posillico Development Corporation, appears to be hanging tough in his dispute with the Town of Hempstead.

Posillico, in partnership with the Virginia-based Avalon Bay Communities, plans to build a development called the Battery at Harbor Isle & Avalon Yacht View in the southern corner of Harbor Isle, a community in Island Park. The $90 million project would include 140 rental apartments and 32 condominiums, most of them with boat slips.

The Town of Hempstead, however, has a covenant on the books that limits the number of rental units in any new development to 10 percent of the total number of units to be built.

That would allow the partners to build fewer than 20 rental units, something that Posillico considers not economically feasible in the current housing market

The Posillico plan far exceeds that mandate and both he and Avalon, which has a number of other like developments in Nassau County, have asked the town to lift the covenant.

Posillico has dictated a deadline to the town board -- the end of June – by which time either the town lifts the covenant or he and his partner will walk away from the project.

He says that the deadline is necessary because of constraints put upon him by the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The 11-acre site, which formerly hosted the Cibro oil transfer station, has been vacant for more than a decade and is part of the cleanup program, which was set up to remediate toxic waste sites such as Cibro. As the landowner, Posillico has until the end of 2015 to clean up the site, at an estimated cost of $12 million. If the company were to miss that deadline, it would not be eligible for the Brownfield program’s tax credits. He says that he has to start the cleanup as soon as possible, but he will not do that until the town lifts the covenant and gives his partner permission to build the 140 rental apartments.

With the deadline only days away, there is no indication that Posicillo has changed his mind.

Neither has the town.

A spokesman for the said that it cannot lift the covenant without going through a proscribed procedure of hearings and decisions.

Town spokesman Michael Deery told the Herald this week that no date has been scheduled for a hearing and none will be set until the petition to lift the covenant “is ready for hearing, and it is not.”

The town’s next hearing date is scheduled for July 9, more than a week after Posillico’s deadline.

Deery explained that there are technical details that must be addressed, concerns and questions answered about the plan before it can be addressed at a hearing, and that the town board traditionally sets the agenda and the meeting dates, not the developer.