Levy smelled weakness in neighboring Nassau County, and now is attempting to woo the tribe to Yaphank, a community that already has a landfill, Caithness and the County Jail. It’s too soon for the community to panic, but the rumblings in Hauppauge of placing a Shinnecock Casino on the “Levy Land” parcels has the community worried. Even though the County Legislature has voted to surplus the land, Levy has vowed to veto it. Time will tell how this plays out.
Politics aside, from a planning perspective, the plan is as nonsensical as an indoor ski mountain at EPCAL. Here is why: A casino is a regional destination center, and is reliant on the surrounding marketplace to draw in population and revenues. Nassau County, from a strict population-base basis, is much better suited for a Casino, due to its direct access to New York City, and much higher population density. It is important to note that Nassau’s proposals are just as nonsensical, with the location of Hofstra, and the lack of infrastructure to accommodate the influx of visitors to the Nassau Hub. Yaphank is essentially a cul-de-sac, with potential markets coming from the west, primarily on the LIE or Sunrise Highway. Transit access is essentially nonexistent.
There is yet an even bigger elephant in the room regarding Levy’s proposal- the Levy Town parcels lay directly in the Carmans River Watershed, and such an intensification of land use runs completely counter to the values promoted by both the Carmans River Watershed Protection Plan, and the Town of Brookhaven. When development is proposed on Long Island, we must always remember one thing: What we do on the land on top, directly impacts the water in the bottom. If the County does surplus and sell the land, the Town of Brookhaven must raise the zoning to A-5 (1 residential unit per 5 acres of land) immediately. The Carmans River is too valuable to lose to one County Executive’s ego.