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Woodmere Club giving way to housing?

Some 5 Towns residents say they’re irked by density, potential impact on their lives

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A petition on change.org that as of press time had collected 416 signatures strongly opposes the possible redevelopment of land that the Woodmere Club could sell into more than 150 homes on 60- by 100-foot lots, according to information on the petition site.

Jeff Smith, a Woodsburgh resident and one of nearly a dozen residents from the village and the surrounding communities of Woodmere, Cedarhurst and Lawrence who created the petition, said that their concerns focus on housing density; the possibility that two-family homes will be built; an increase in traffic volume; the environmental impact of a loss of trees and other greenery; the potential for an uptick in flooding due to the construction of more roads that would create more water-resistant areas; the taxing of police resources, especially during emergency situations; and the impact on the sewer system and possible needed upgrades.

“This is something that affects a lot of people’s quality of life and a multitude of issues,” Smith said. “We are very concerned. We are also very cognizant that the club is determined to make a sale.”

Smith said that one developer dropped his bid to purchase the land, but according to people he has spoken to, club officials are actively soliciting other bids for the land.

According to officials from the surrounding municipalities, the proposed redevelopment site is in the Town of Hempstead hamlet of Woodmere adjacent to the villages of Cedarhurst, Lawrence and Woodsburgh. The 30-plus-acre parcel could be divided into as many as four subdivisions. According to Nassau County law, each municipality has the legal right to review the application, because each is within 300 feet of the targeted land.

Cedarhurst village officials said that the lawyer representing the Woodmere Club, Bill Bonesseo, contacted them a couple of months ago to gauge the village’s position on the possible redevelopment.

“No application has been filed, so it is premature on what will happen,” Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said. “The public will have the opportunity to be heard and express any opinions that are against or in favor of the development. The village has always been sensitive to maintaining the quality of life and the suburban character of our community.” 

Many of those who signed the online petition added comments on the proposed development. “This will cause a nightmare of parking and traffic on Broadway and the tree streets area, which is already becoming out of control with often standstill traffic on Broadway and adding much more noise and pollution to the area,” Woodmere resident Miriam Abrahams wrote.

Mario Joseph, of Woodmere, listed three reasons why he opposes the development. “(a) Broadway and Central Avenue are already miserably congested with traffic, (b) flooding is likely to worsen with less soil (i.e. more concrete), and (c) I appreciate the mature beauty and outdoor views of the neighborhood,” he wrote.

On the street, Woodmere resident Dr. Teresa Antony said, “We wouldn’t want that. We want open space, nature and golfers. Why would they want to sell it? It’s going to be crowded again. We won’t have open space anymore, and the whole area would look different. You’d lose the beauty of the place.” 

Smith said that group members are expected to meet within the next two weeks to plot their next course of action. They would like to have an “open conversation” with the club about the potential development as well as other ways in which the club could generate more revenue. 

Calls to the lawyer representing the Woodmere Club and John Wiener, president of the club, were not returned by press time. 

The petition can be viewed at http://chn.ge/2cpEsYU.

Have an opinion about the possible land redevelopment? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.