Community petitions for supermajority vote

Idle Hour Mansion and Rechler development on topic

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The Town of Islip held their monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

The first 15 minutes of the meeting were mired with audio problems, and numerous members of the audience in the back of the room shouted that they were unable to hear the speakers.

The standing air conditioner unit was turned off and ameliorated the volume situation, but due to COVID-19 protocol, speakers from the public were not provided a microphone.

The Greater Islip Association held a protest outside Town Hall one hour prior to the meeting with about two-dozen members carrying “Stop the Zone Change” signs, in reference to proposed development by Rechler at the former Island Hills Golf Course.

Many passing cars honked, seemingly in favor of the protestors’ message, including a Town of Islip truck.

John Tafe, executive assistant of the Greater Islip Association, planned on presenting a petition for a supermajority vote on the Rechler development.

The petition contained signatures of more than the requisite 20 percent of surrounding homeowners within 100 feet of the development site, who supported a supermajority vote by the town on the Rechler proposal, which would consist of four votes instead of three.

“The supermajority petition allows us to force a vote of four out of five instead of three out of five. That’s how it helps us,” said Susan Mantovani, director of Greater Islip Association.

As the vote will likely be after the November elections, the GIA has brought up the issue to contenders of sitting council members.

Tafe, who has been in close contact with the town for nearly two years about the Island Hills project, was delighted that in the past month he had finally been referred to the town attorney about the community concerns over the proposed expansive development.

David Chan, a resident of Oakdale, spoke at the meeting, expressing ongoing concerns by many community members about the derelict Idle Hour Mansion whose owner, Mercury International, is based in Asia and has been traditionally unresponsive to town citations.

Particularly, Chan cited the overgrown grass in Idle Hour Mansion, which stands at over 2 feet, well above the town code.

“We take money out of our pockets to secure the property,” said Chan. “We do this for a multi-million-dollar company that has done nothing to help us.”

Chan said that after the last board meeting, he did have a positive phone conversation with Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter about his concerns, but lamented what he perceived as lack of action from the town in punitive measures against Mercury.

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