Willow View Estates Project Is Unable to Move Forward After Multiple Lawsuits

In early 2019, preliminary subdivision plans were first submitted to the Nassau County Department of Public Works Planning Commission. This comes two years after Efrem Gerszberg and Robert Weiss purchased the Woodmere Club for development. The original project was penned as Willow View Estates, with 248 homes in Woodmere, 24 in Woodsburgh, and 13 in Lawrence – 285 homes in total. However, since each municipality must give its approval, and there have been lingering concerns, the project may never get off the ground. 

What Was the Original Proposal?

The original proposal had the minimum lot size at 6,000 square feet and the maximum at 262, 117 square feet, with five additional sites as stormwater basins. Four additional roadways would have to be built to accommodate the development. The original plan was to completely close the golf course in 2021 and begin breaking ground, assuming that the original proposal would be approved or would need just a few small amendments.

What Caused Problems with the Original Proposal?

The Woodmere Club is 120 acres in total, and Gerszberg and Weiss, operating as Weiss Properties, bought the property in 2017 for about $9 million and agreed to take on $15 million in debt the club had owed. Nearby neighbors were immediately against the proposal, claiming that it would be an eyesore in the neighborhood and destroy wildlife. 

By July 2020, the town of Hempstead had passed a new resolution that ordered the Woodmere club to preserve 83 acres of open space, which included a clubhouse and a nine-hole golf course. This leaves very little room for development. 

Where Does the Project Stand Now?

The Woodmere Club owners, Weiss Properties, have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead for $250 million as of September 2020, which is the sixth lawsuit filed since the original plans were submitted in early 2019. 

In addition to naming the town of Hempstead as defendants, the towns of Woodsburgh and Lawrence are also named on the complaint. Efrem Geszberg, one of the club’s owners, said, “We are prepared to litigate our constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court,” when asked about the lawsuit. 

The language that the Town of Hempstead has used marks the 83 acres as a “coastal conservation district,” so developers cannot build on those acres until their case is heard in court. As of now, no date is set.

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