Belmont Community Listening Session Questionaire

By Sean McCaffery, December 10, 2017

Having attended meeetings when the Cosmos were also seeking to develop the same parcel, this was vastly different. It was calmer, better organized yet a far bigger crowd. Both sides made their presentation, due to an accident on Souther State,  I was rerouted and missed most of that part but heard all of the questions from the attendees. Both groups seek to keep their building to the northern end, near to the existing club house of the almost 110 year+ racing site that hosts the last leg of the triple crown. Both include a retail component and what seems to be plenty of on site parking to combine with the racetrack parking. There were a few in the crowd who despite being asked and throughout the question period having the sheets for question circulated called out. One asked what the zip code was to the site for the Islander group as they stated their desire to hire locally, sadly the NYCFC group failed to google that and the local ones to be able to address that and win some points. Another called out that the RFP did not call for an arena, the area is zoned for sports/entertainment I am sure an arena fits that criteria. Both must as the RFP calls for be LEED copliant, more engery effient etc., this we addressed in our coverage of the new DC United stadium. Both stated they would also be sustainable as asked but other than managment of grond water did not get specific? Between grey water for irrigation, capturing rain water/runoff for irrigation which a permit is needed to do in nyc?, solar for covered parked as LIRR does, wind turbines on the higher points of the projects and more would have been better replies. A month or so ago another media outlet had a rendering of a stadium for NYCFC, thing is it was the Cosmos plan for the same site, so there is a lot of misinformation out there on this. Richard Brown who did most of the talking for the Islanders group  an interesting mix with Sterling (NY Mets) and MSG (Rangers etc) was by far the most charasmatic of all during the hearing engaging walking the stage a bit and delivering the mic to the NYCFC group for their turns at answering the questions.

As for the questions, some seemed out of left field, how high the cieling might be? others asking on the impact on schools and community impact, development if not housing helps increases tax rolls and adds no students, as for the community yes will add traffic but jobs and again the increased taxes will slow tax increases. With both having open spaces for the community and indoor space as well it should have a positive impact in that regard. I think given that a few of the questions had been answered in the presentations that a more in depth talk on each groups intent would have been a better use of the time. When asked if immenint domain would come into play the NYCFC group lost a great chance to strike out at the Isles as their current home lead to the uprooting of many long time residents, both groups stated no. Overall both were disappointing to me, neither making a much better case than the other, but again I was rather late, maybe I missed some really good stuff.