Developer scales back plan, hoping for OK

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Michael Dubb doesn’t want to repeat the stunning moment four years ago when billionaire Charles Wang yanked a rezoning application after opposition grew to his multiuse development plan in Plainview.

So Dubb, founder of the Jericho-based Beechwood Organization, has proposed a less dense, mostly residential development on 143 acres at the corner of Old Country Road and Round Swamp Road.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property and I believe there’s an approvable job out there,” Dubb told Newsday. “It’s really an opportunity to turn something that’s been a negative into a positive.”

Development at the site has faced heated opposition from area residents, particularly as Wang proposed a hotel, ample retail and office space, as well as housing at the site. After listening to opposition at a daytime zoning hearing in March 2007, Wang withdrew his proposal at the evening session.

Dubb plans to submit his Country Pointe at Plainview project to Oyster Bay Town within two weeks. A public hearing could be held next spring, according to the town.

The project would include 800 housing units — town houses and three-story condominiums as well as semidetached and detached houses ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet. It also would include affordable housing for seniors, a grocery store and some office space, retail and restaurants.

More than 50 acres are to be open space, including soccer fields and a trail. Project executive Carol Bosco said no decision has been made about whether the community would be gated, as many of Dubb’s projects are.

But Dubb’s proposal stands out most for what the project would lack. It wouldn’t include a hotel and cultural center, and proposes far less retail and office space than Wang’s plan.

Michael Picker, who heads Wang’s real estate operations, said Wang, who handed Dubb development rights but kept some rights to the property, is “fully supportive” of the proposal.

Dubb said he has met with residents, and town and school officials, and is willing to make even more changes.

“He has a good touch, a bedside manner, if you will,” said Town Supervisor John Venditto. “He’s taking a different approach from the last time. The right approach.”

Civic activist Carol Meschkow, who took the lead in fighting Wang’s proposal, said she has met with Dubb and conveyed her concerns.

“He knows that I believe in open space and he appreciates that it’s really the last and largest tract of pristine land around here,” said Meschkow, who heads the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community. “We can’t ever get it back.”

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