The protest continues
Resident pack the Islip Town Board meeting. INSET: Jeannette Salvito (right) and friend of the 4 Towns Civic Association protest the Heartland development in Brentwood during Tuesday’s rainstorm.

IB/Perrotta

The protest continues

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
7/19/2018


ISLIP TOWN—The Islip Town Board meeting began with a protest. About two dozen people stood outside Islip Town Hall during the rainstorm Tuesday evening that disrupted what could possibly have been a larger protest against the proposed Island Hills development, which looks to build 1,300 rental apartments in over two dozen buildings (most at a height of three to four stories) on Lakeland Avenue. 

Rechler Equity Partners, a Plainview-based developer, filed an application with Islip Town last year to change the zoning of Island Hills Golf Course from AAA (residential) to PDD (planned development district). 

John Tafe, a junior at Connetquot High School, says the roads surrounding the current greenspace cannot support the number of drivers the development will inevitably bring. 

Other residents protested the Heartland development, which seeks to transform Brentwood’s former Pilgrim State Hospital into approximately 9,000-plus apartments, 1,000,000 square feet of retail space, and 3,000,000 square feet of offices, amounting to the construction of 15.5 million square feet of development over the next three decades. 

Last year, developer Jerry Wolkoff was granted a zoning change for the first phase of the development, which includes over 3,000 apartments. 

Jeannette Salvito, a member of 4 Towns Civic Association, says her organization is opposed to Heartland due to concerns about what construction might do to the aquifer underneath the proposed site. Salvito, a Commack resident, also criticized the high cost of the apartments, which are being advertised as “affordable,” and stated the jobs created by the finished development will only be low paying. “It’s a disgrace,” she said, regarding the development, which will also build over a cemetery on-site. 

Salvito said Islip Town got the ball rolling with large developments such as Island Hills and Heartland, and townships like Babylon and Huntington have since followed with their own controversial developments. 

More than a dozen local residents then spoke, mostly against Sayville’s and Brentwood’s respective developments, during the public portion of the town board meeting. 

Trish Pacholik, a West Sayville resident, says the Island Hills development will forever change the “character” of the community that, she says, isn’t designed for a project of this size. Pacholik said a project this size will cause a “transportation nightmare,” and that the “quaint” Sayville train station, where it’s currently free to park, will be mobbed as a result of the likely population influx. She also asked why the developers would invest so much time and money in a project like this if they didn’t know for sure the property would be rezoned in the future. 

Kristine Schultz, president of 4 Towns Civic Association, reminded the town board that Brentwood’s fire department is composed of volunteers who are untrained to handle a potential fire in a 10-story building like those that would make up the Heartland development. Schultz, a Dix Hills resident, also said the fire department, along with the police department, are unequipped to handle a development of this scope. The current roads can’t accommodate the fire rescue vehicles and the police can’t patrol the population of a mini-city, she added. 

Islip Town resident Kerri Michael asked the town board how they, in good conscience, could possibly rezone the Island Hills Golf Course, despite the community’s opposition to the project. 

Greg Pepe, an Islip resident, told the majority of those speaking against the Island Hills project to sympathize with “our neighbors to the north who [would] have to look at 10-story buildings in their backyards,” should Heartland be approved. Pepe then accused the town board of creating what he called the “urbanization of Suffolk County.”

After the public portion of the meeting, the town board addressed a full agenda of resolutions.

Supervisor Angie Carpenter was authorized to apply for and accept consolidated grant funding from New York State for sewer installation in Central Islip. Carpenter was also authorized to enter into a lease agreement with Shamrock Oyster Company for one parcel of town-owned bay-bottom land for the purpose of shellfish cultivation in the Great South Bay. 

Town Clerk Olga Murray was authorized to advertise for a public hearing to consider amending the Town of Islip Uniform Traffic Code.

Carpenter was authorized to execute an extension of the town’s grant contracts with Suffolk County for the partial funding of the town’s downtown streetscape improvement projects, as well as execute a contract extension with TheLandTek Group Inc. for streetscape and sidewalk construction projects. She was also authorized to execute all documents necessary for the awarding of the contract for the rehabilitation of runways at Long Island MacArthur Airport to Intercounty Paving Associates. 

The supervisor was authorized to enter into agreements with Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Co. for additional auditing at MacArthur Airport, as well as Oshkosh Airport Products LLC for the purchase of additional equipment for two airport rescue and firefighting vehicles at the public airport. 

In addition, Carpenter was authorized to execute a license agreement with Winter Bros. Hauling of Long Island LLC for the purpose of consolidating trash dumpsters and removal services of several business entities located between Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue (Bay Shore), along with any and all applications on behalf of the town which are required for the improvements of the ball fields located on Wheeler Road in East Islip. 

She was also authorized to enter into a professional service agreement for one year with Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services Inc. for their independent review of insurance certifications submitted by vendors for all contracts issued by the town. 

The next Islip Town Board meeting will be held in the town’s boardroom on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.