Increasingly, the public is caught between stupidity and cupidity when trying to assess the actions of Jay Schneiderman. Insensitivity and moronic arrogance led to his releasing his inner teenager so as to perform at the now-infamous crowdfest in defiance of public concern. This misstep was followed by his smarmy “dog ate the permit” defense.
At it again, he is “fast-tracking” an amendment to change the Community Preservation Fund so as to facilitate development of a two-story pool and sports complex at County Road 39 and Magee Street. A notice was posted last Thursday in this newspaper for a public hearing on the following Tuesday. If you are reading this, it happened already.
He is rapidly moving forward on a dubious project he encouraged — and what better time than during the dog days of August, with all the uncertainties of a pandemic scare, school closings, businesses fading, a divisive national climate, endemic uncertainties and looming financial crisis thrown in for good measure. This now-past “public hearing” counted on excluding the public, except for the project advocates alerted to be there.
Taking advantage, Schneiderman and sidekick Tommy John Schiavoni are barreling ahead to enable the development of a property — purchased for preservation — with a two-story sports complex originally slated as a “pool” for Hampton Bays, on this inappropriate but more lucrative site. In doing so, they are blatantly choosing to ignore the horrific traffic in the exact locale being touted for a “sports complex,” and all the surrounding residential village streets already heavily trafficked with cars and trucks headed to Hill Street to avoid the constant gridlock on County Road 39. And what about the increase in accidents on County Road 39 reported all summer long? Are they also proposing to ignore the long and recent history of sustained community opposition to any development of this site?
The finances of this “pool-plus” are murky. Due diligence? How will this sports complex, with an estimated yearly cost of $600,000, be financed? The nonprofit or charity (which is it?) promoters offer vague promises of “donations” and unsubstantiated guarantees that it “will be self-sustaining.” What about insurance costs? Lawsuits if someone gets injured or unfortunately drowns? Will these and other uncalculated and unforeseen costs all fall to taxpayers in an uncertain future, or will the project be sold to private interests?
This fiasco is an argument to end the CPF with its billions just waiting out there to be scooped up for dubious preservation projects, to postpone all public hearings until the health crisis is over, and to stop Schneiderman’s rush to do his business as usual.
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One fine body…