A village board member of Islandia publicly criticized the handling of a proposal for Suffolk OTB to provide a casino in the area, stating the announcement of a public hearing was provided to only a select few residents in the area. Deputy Mayor Diane Olk made the claims on Tuesday during a work sesson and Allan M. Dorman, the Mayor of Islandia, has now fired back, stating the criticism by the board member is not credible.
Olk stated on Tuesday that letters were sent out to only a few ‘select’ residents to announce a public hearing for the casino project for July 5th. Olk called for the hearing to be reopened so that additional residents could comment on the casino plan.
Yesterday, Dorman released a statement on Olk’s comments via a public relations firm used by the village which stated that residents were adequately notified of the hearing. In the statement, Dorman said that on July 5th a ‘highly publicized meeting’ took place and the village made every effort to let all residents know of the meeting. Based on the attendance level of the meeting, Dorman feels it is difficult to give Olk’s statement any credibility.
During the meeting on the 5th, several residents spoke out against the casino, including individuals from neighboring communities. Only a handful of participants seemed to be in favor of the casino plan. Olk stated on Thursday that Dorman seemed to be unprepared as a large crowd was in attendance during the hearing and time limits that she considered ‘unprecedented’ were set on those who spoke, with individuals asked to fill out forms as a request to speak during the meeting.
Olk stated that Dorman should have been more prepared and provided a proper setting for the hearing while Dorman commented in this statement that everyone was given an opportunity to speak. Dorman reiterated that the majority of those who were opposed in the crowd were nonresident members associated with civic groups located outside Islandia.
On Thursday, two civic leaders seemed to be in agreement with Olk. One such leader, Wind Watch Homeowners Association of Hauppauge, Larry Kelter, stated that he feels the mayor does not want to know that there is opposition to the plan and he wants to push through without any negative feedback, according to Newsday.com.
Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., made a request to be approved for a special permit for the Islandia Marriott facility to be able to offer 1,000 video lottery terminals as well as add a racing simulcast facility. A vote was set to take place on the request on the 12th of July but Dorman cancelled the vote and it has yet to be rescheduled. The board will meet again this coming Tuesday.