The Nassau County Legislature voted on Monday to approve a lease for 99 years with Las Vegas Sandsfor land surrounding the Nassau Hub.
Jessica Ramos, a state senator who told the NY Post that she did not intend to introduce the necessary legislation to designate certain state-owned lands as commercial land this past weekend, has put Steve Cohen’s efforts to build a casino near Citi Field on hold.
“I attended a very fruitful town hall meeting on Friday, which will be the beginning of many conversations with my neighbors.” Ramos told the Post that he and his neighbors are not in a position where they feel it is appropriate to introduce legislation to prevent parkland alienation.
The bill a5688 passed the Assembly but has not moved much in the Senate. Cohen’s spokesperson told the Post that they were eager to take Ramos’s feedback into account and to continue listening to the community. New York’s legislative session ends on the 4th of June. The land won’t be cleared if the bill doesn’t pass. Cohen will not have the opportunity to build a casino in New York this year.
The Nassau Hub Casino project also continued to attract some of the most vocal critics, due to its proximity to several schools including Hofstra University.
Hofstra has filed a lawsuit over the failure of county officials to adhere to New York’s public meeting laws. The council was asked by many opponents to wait until the case had been heard, which is expected in the next few weeks, before voting. However, the request was ignored, and the project received near-unanimous approval from the state legislature.
“I urge you to reject this proposition or to delay your decision until the Planning Commission can hold a comprehensive and properly advertised public hearing on this proposed lease. The planning commission has yet to hold the public hearing required by law for the proposed lease. In fact, it hasn’t held a public hearing since the date of the lease proposal. The procedural steps exist for a good reason. You should postpone voting until the county agencies follow the procedure for a complex issue as important and impactful as this one.
The 99-year lease agreement has an interesting element: if Sands is not selected by the State for a license to operate a casino, the company would still retain the lease as well as the right of development.
While these projects progress, potential casino licensees still await answers to the first round questions submitted regarding the RFP process. In March, Gaming Facility Location Board announced that they received hundreds of questions. They were now working on providing answers.