About 60 people attended the Glen Cove City Council's last public hearing Tuesday on a proposed amendment to grant vested rights to the Waterfront Project redeveloper, with a few new voices joining the handful who have been following the issue's recent hearings.
Residents spoke for and against the amendment, which would protect the Glen Isle development's 52 acres from zoning changes during a multi-phase buildout over the next 12 years.
Those speaking against the measure said they felt it was unfair to protect a private developer from the wishes of future administrations.
"Each and every one of you up there has affected the zoning of this city, and I can't see how you can deny that to future administrations," said Paul Meli.
Several residents expressed concern that the amendment gives the redeveloper carte blanche to build housing that could resemble a Queens landscape, leaving the City no recourse against undesirable building plans.
Others voiced their support for the measure as a sound step in moving a long-awaited project forward.
"It's an amendment, not a contract...There are many people in Glen Cove who support this and want to see the Waterfront Project move forward," said one woman.
Glenn Howard reiterated a point he made at past hearings about making the community appealing to young demographics.
"If the young people leave, what you will have is a retirement village. There will be no stores, there will be no shops," he said.
Howard said the passing of this resolution does not prevent future administrations from passing their own resolutions, which called into question claims that the amendment will deny power to future councils.
Councilman Reginald Spinello said he was still trying to understand why a legal amendment was necessary if the City and redeveloper are already working in partnership, with the City already having invested millions.
"I'm not a lawyer. I come from a business background, so I look at it from a business perspective," he said. He repeated a request he has made for more specific numbers. "I'm looking for a much fuller financial picture."
Anthony Guardino, an attorney for the redeveloper, responded that the long-term nature of the project is what calls for some additional certainty for his client, who has invested millions more than the City in remediation and infrastucture and is accountable to lenders.
He said legal precedents have ascertained that vesting rights only applied to the first phase of similar multi-phase projects, but that even such limited guarantee serves as some measure of certainty to lenders.
The Council voted unanimously to table the vote on the amendment until its March 27 meeting.