Residents from several civic associations are petitioning for a public vote on a proposed takeover of the Roslyn Country Club by the .
Representatives from the civic associations of Lakeville Estates, New Hyde Park, Carle Place and Albertson collected over 4,000 signatures over the course of 17 days and submitted them to the town clerk last week asking for a public vote on the proposed borrowing of $7.5 million to acquire and renovate the Roslyn Country Club property.
Before the resolution was , “we had constantly asked Jon Kaiman and the town board to put Roslyn Country Club to a vote to the people,” Albertson Civic Association President Eddie Scott said Monday during a visit to the club. “They refused.”
After months of negotiation with the owner, North Hempstead is looking to through its environmental legacy fund and renovate the pool and surrounding facilities, whose pool is in dire need of repair as the cement liner is cracked and flaking and numerous plants and 6-ft. tall weeds have invaded and taken root.
The town board voted 5-2 in favor with Dina DeGiorgio and Angelo Ferrara, R-New Hyde Park, voting against.
The town’s reported plan is to sell 1,000 memberships to the club at approximately $1,0000 a piece in order to pay for the project. However, if there is a shortfall in membership or cost overruns in the project, taxpayers could be liable for the difference. Also, while every taxpayer in the town would have an equal share in the $7.5 million bond, only those who pay the separate membership fees to the club, pool and tennis courts would be able to utilize the respective facilities.
“I have nothing against the Roslyn Country Club and people have a right to have their tennis court and pool but I certainly can’t afford an additional $1,000 in this economy,” Anthony Bulzonmi of the Westbury-Carle Place Civic Association said. “The majority of the residents and my neighbors certainly wouldn’t be coming out here to use this.”
Bulzonmi, a construction manager, was also skeptical about the $7.5 million being the final cost of the project.
“Construction being as it is, there’s always cost overruns,” he said. “What that could be, there’s environmental questions that come into play especially when you talk about chlorine and containers that may be underground so the cost overruns could be quite large.”
“It hasn’t been successful, from what I understand, at $700 a year in membership. What makes you think it’s going to be successful for $1,000 to $1,125? It’s not going to work; the membership that’s required to sustain itself is not going to work,” Scott said, noting that signatures are still coming into his house despite a passed deadline. “Why should somebody in New Hyde Park pay $1,000 to $1,125 to come and use this pool? We want the right to vote.”
Other communities such as Williston Park, , New Hyde Park and East Hills already have their own pool. A family pass to the Williston Park pool, which Scott utilizes, reportedly costs $375.
Scott says he wants the people in the area have their own pool via a special taxing district rather than any potential shortfall be borne by all residents across North Hempstead. There are a total of 668 homes in Roslyn Country Club area which Scott says could be part of the new district.
“East Hills pays for their own pool, New Hyde Park pays for their own pool. I would like to see the people of Roslyn Country Club pay for their own pool. Why should the burden be put on everyone across North Hempstead for a select few that want it?”
While a special election would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for the town, Scott says that can be avoided by placing the measure on the November ballot. Petitions are required to have 3,343 valid names, or 5 percent of the number of residents in the town who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
“So you want to take away their rights to their property, what they’re entitled to, then you want to take their right away to vote?” Scott said. “I have a very big problem with this and I think a lot of us have .”
In a statement released Tuesday, said that he anticipated that the town would certify the petitions “shortly and that we will then move to put the matter to a referendum. The goal will be to set the date for the same day as the general election in November to avoid additional costs.”
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the town seeks to purchase a piece of the property through the town's environmental legacy fund, not through eminent domain.