EAST ISLIP

Resident alleges conflict of interest on Bayview Avenue project

Town Ethics Board says councilwoman followed its recommendations, may not have made disclosures

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The Islip Town Board of Ethics is in communications with councilwoman Trish Bergin to ensure that she is compliant with town ethics code regarding an East Islip property that she was responsible for selling, according to town documents.

Bay Green Realty LLC, represented by applicant Larry Gargano, is seeking a change of zone at 7 and 9 Bayview Avenue from Residence A to Residence C to construct 16 cottage-style dwellings, part of a senior living complex.

The 2.48 acres property, currently under review by the Islip Town Planning Board, has received backlash from resident-based coalition Citizens Against Bayview Ave Apartment. At prior public hearings, community members have expressed concern about traffic and surrounding property value.

In August 2020, coalition member Pamela Fremgen submitted a letter to the Board of Ethics claiming that a conflict of interest exists between Bergin and Gargano.

Fremgen’s letter claimed that Bergin, who currently works as an agent with Ramsay Realtors, may have worked alongside the developer and sold him the property. Her letter also noted additional concerns about “unfair practices” during planning board meetings.

According to Realtor.com, Bergin sold the property at 7 Bayview Avenue for $450,000 and the property at 9 Bayview Avenue for $1 million in January and March 2020, respectively. The buyer is not listed.

The Ethics Board composed a response to Fremgen dated Dec. 28, which acknowledges receipt of her letter and further states, “The board did look into and investigate your claims regarding the Bayview Avenue, East Islip, properties. After our investigation, the board has concluded that Ms. Bergin-Weichbrodt may not have made disclosures as recommended to her by this board in the past.”

It further states: “The board is accordingly writing to Ms. Bergin-Weichbrodt to advise her of our concerns and recommending a course of action in the future which will ensure her compliance with her obligations under the Ethics Code.” The letter was signed by chairman Nicholas Campasano.

On Sept. 22, 2020, a town spokesperson confirmed that Bergin would recuse herself from voting on the application and could not comment on the proposal for that reason.

Fremgen said she believes that regardless of her recusal, the councilwoman still has influence over her fellow town board members.

Residents previously expressed concer n about traffic in the area. As The Islip Bulletin previously reported, the project is expected to go before the planning board for a decision hearing once the town’s traffic consultant reviews a traffic analysis of the location.

The proposal also features accessory garage spaces, and setbacks for those structures will require variances from the zoning board of appeals, according to the town. Setbacks for three of the proposed units will also require variances.

A previous version of the project proposed 29 senior-living units for rent.

Bergin was not immediately available for comment by press time.

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