Island Hills Golf Course dominates town hall meeting
Residents crowd Islip Town Hall to speak out against the proposed Island Hills development.

IB/Perrotta

Island Hills Golf Course dominates town hall meeting

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
11/30/2017


ISLIP TOWN—On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Islip Town Board addressed a full agenda of resolutions, but not before concerned citizens (mostly Sayville residents) expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed Island Hills Golf Course Development Plan, which seeks to build 1365 rental apartments in 27 buildings (most at a height of three to four stories) on Lakeland Avenue. Rechler Equity Partners, the Plainview- and Westhampton-based developer, filed an application with the Town of Islip this March to change the zoning of Island Hills Golf Course from AAA (residential) to PDD (planned development district). 

Before last Tuesday’s meeting could begin, residents were told anyone displaying signs protesting the project would be forced to leave. When someone in the crowd asked if this was a town policy, the officer who informed them about the signs said he didn’t know. 

Kevin Shapiro, a Bohemia resident, said the Island Hills development plan doesn’t fit the character of the community. “It’s a quality-of-life issue for me and my family,” he said. “A lot of the activities we enjoy are unique to Sayville as it currently stands.”

Kim Richards, a lifelong resident of Sayville who lives alongside the golf course, said the parking alone would spill over into the residential communities. She added how her young child said their neighborhood would begin to look like Nassau County if the project went through, and that they’d understand if the family decided to move. “I like the aesthetic of Suffolk County, particularly Sayville,” Richards told the Islip Town Board. “I hope you’ll support us.”

Tom White, a business owner and 17-year resident of Sayville, asked the Islip Town Board to picture their beautiful town with a miniature city dropped in the middle of it. “I wanted to retire here,” he said, “but now I’m considering moving.”

Anne Marie Jones, a self-employed contractor who previously served as Babylon Town’s planning and development commissioner, spoke in favor of the project. She argued the golf course was defunct and reminded the frustrated residents that the proposed development is on private property. Jones, who gave the developer’s Plainview location as her own residence, also said the project is in the beginning of a long process and that the public’s concerns will be incorporated into the plan. “We’re open to suggestions,” she added, “but we need dialogue to be productive.” 

Residents, however, remained skeptical. 

Donna Brown, a nearly 40-year resident of Sayville, said Rechler Equity Partners aren’t visionaries like their advertisements and website claim. “They’re carpetbaggers,” she remarked.

Michael Capuano asked, “Why do we have zoning laws?” He then said the project, whether residents like it or not, is a done deal, and the only hope they have moving forward is to “organize and sue.” 

Last Tuesday’s meeting began at 6 p.m., which is rare. Most town board meetings are held in the afternoon when the majority of the public is at work. A Holbrook resident suggested starting a petition pushing for future town board meetings to begin no earlier than 6:30 p.m.; that way, the public could more easily attend. His comments garnered applause from the audience.

Later that evening, the Islip Town Board gave authorization for the supervisor to execute both a sub-recipient agreement with the Town of Islip Community Development Agency for the receipt of CDBG funding for the Roberto Clemente Pool Rehabilitation Project and an amendment to the professional services agreement with Nelson and Pope for design services for the main pool rehabilitation/filtration upgrade and design services to include an engineering and economic feasibility study for certain improvements to the administration pool building and additional construction oversight services for improvements. 

Authorization was also given for the supervisor to both execute a contract with LK McLean Associates, PC, for the Maple Avenue Dock Re-Construction Phase II and sign and permit applications that are required for the reconstruction and site improvements to the existing Little League fields at 10 Wheeler Road in East Islip. 

The supervisor was given permission to execute a contract with both Safety Marketing Inc. for runaway rubber and paint removal and re-painting services at Long Island MacArthur Airport and Oxford Airport Technical Services (the lowest responsible bidder) for Contract DAT 2017-4, maintenance and repair of the baggage delivery system at Long Island MacArthur Airport. 

Authorization was also given for the supervisor to execute all documents necessary for the approval of the change order to the contract with J Anthony Enterprises relating to general contracting services for the construction of a new ARFF facility at Long Island MacArthur Airport. 

In addition, the town clerk was given authorization to advertise for a public hearing to adopt a local law to amend Town Code Chapter 41: Taxation exemption for Cold War veterans to remove the 10-year limitation of Cold War veterans’ exemption. 

Lastly, the Islip Town Board approved to execute a contract with Edwards and Company to perform insurance brokerage for the calendar year of 2018.

The next Islip Town Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.