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Nassau Taxpayers On Edge Over Scheduled Vote For Development Of Beloved Country Club

WOODSBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Taxpayers are awaiting a decision on what kind of development will be allowed on a sprawling open space in Nassau County.

Residents say they were shocked to find a zoning vote scheduled next week on the fate of the Woodmere Golf Club, with golfers sad to see the South Shore jewel sold off to a developer.

"I feel terrible about the club going out of business," club member Rene Reiner said.

Meanwhile, Five Towns residents ready for battle over what will come next for the 100 prime acres. Rena Saffra says she found the vote to change the zoning to allow development after a year and a half moratorium buried in the Town of Hempstead agenda for next Tuesday.

The new zoning could allow upwards of 150 new homes.

"I think they were trying to pull a fast one on us and not get us involved or know what was happening," Saffra told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff.

With the moratorium expiring, the developer would have the right to carve up the land into more than 300 new homes on one-eighth acre lots.

"The neighborhood cannot handle another 100 plus houses, the train station doesn't have enough parking, one-lane ambulances cannot get down," Woodsburgh resident Danielle Aronovitz said, adding it would essentially be "an environmental disaster."

Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman says no decision has been made yet on the new zoning, and the vote will be delayed as he awaits environmental and traffic impact studies. Doing nothing would allow the development to proceed at densest levels.

"We are trying to help the residents by restricting the amount of development that can happen on this site," Blakeman said. "If we don't do something now the developer can come in and build 300 houses and that wouldn't be acceptable."

Blakeman will roll out the impact studies to the community Monday night with weeks for them to weigh in. Meanwhile, the Five Towns Civic Association says it's eager to hear what the developer has in mind for the open space. They claim they have lawyers at the ready to fight if they believe the proposal will overwhelm the community.

The community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Lawrence Woodmere Academy.

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