The NY Times looks at the conflict between the development and some threatened and endangeder species currently hanging out on the site. And to make things even more fun, the Town is trying to keep state environmental regulators off the site. Maybe they'll them in more this summer, while the short-eared owls are vacationing in upstate.
Newsday focused on the incredibly thin argument for allowing them to violate the existing 75 height restriction:
Developers of a proposed $1.5-billion theme park in Calverton are considering an innovative way to get approval for the park's centerpiece - a 350-foot-tall indoor ski mountain.This logic implies that every single building erected on land where the elevation exceeds 75 feet is already in violation with the height restriction. So, we might as well let even the most frivolous of uses violate that apparently unenforced zoning regulation.
Mitch Pally, an attorney for Riverhead Resorts, told several Suffolk legislators yesterday that it may be possible to transfer air rights from one part of the 755-acre site to the manmade mountain, essentially giving up air rights in other parts of the park.
"It will still be lower than University Hospital at Stony Brook," he said. That 18-story building is on a hill and reaches 410 feet above sea level.
Still, much of our environmental and land use law treats societally valuable development - like a hospital or public park - nearly the same as a some fun and frivolous landuses like theme parks and coffee houses. If it is worth impinging a bit on anyone's property rights, then it is worth it for everyone's.
It'll be interesting to see how this one works out at the end. These first newspaper accounts will miss plenty of details, but the developer's attitude already seems like it promises a sizable confrontation over the coming months.