Long Beach zoning board hosts hearing on Superblock project

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LONG BEACH -

Long Beach's zoning board of appeals hosted a special hearing Tuesday on the proposed Superblock apartment and retail project in the city.

Opponents are saying the delays have gone on for so long that the developer's variance and permit have expired.

They were granted in 2014 and 2015, and the developer iStar maintains they are still valid. Critics filed a lawsuit, and a Nassau Supreme Court judge ordered the special hearing to determine whether the variance and building permit are still good.

The project aims to spruce up a 6-acre lot on Shore Road that has sat vacant for almost 40 years.

The developer iStar has been trying for years to develop a luxury housing and retail complex there. Instead of getting to work right away, critics argue, iStar delayed work and asked the Nassau Industrial Development Agency for $100 million in tax breaks for the build. 

The IDA has rejected two of iStar's requests for tax abatements, as News 12 has previously reported.

Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato represents the group of Long Beach residents who oppose the project.

Other residents, like Varda Elias, say they hope the project finally gets off the ground because they're tired of looking at the empty lot.

"I like the community to be built up," Elias says. "It's more income for the city, more people paying taxes, more people using the stores and the restaurants."

The city's zoning board of appeals will determine whether the permit and variance can be nullified or extended.

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