Homes, open space set for former golf site
About 100 acres of the former Links At Shirley, a 205-acre golf course, will be handed over to the town as part of a pact with the subdivision's developer, Holiday Organization of Plainview. The town board approved a zone change last week that clears the way for Holiday's plan.
The development includes 75 single-family homes and 150 age-restricted town houses, which will be set aside for buyers age 55 and older without school-age children, town officials said. It is not clear when construction would begin.
The town will determine what to do with its 100 acres, which could remain undisturbed or become a recreational destination, said Supervisor Mark Lesko.
Councilman Daniel Panico, who represents the area, said he would like a community center and possibly a municipal golf course on the land.
Holiday's development, called Colony Preserve at Shirley, is a good compromise for the town, because a subdivision of solely single-family homes could have burdened the William Floyd School District with a heavy influx of children, Panico said.
"This is the last large tract of undeveloped land in the Mastic-Shirley area," he said. "We have the ability to shape recreational opportunities there."
Residents are conflicted about the addition of a subdivision to the streetscape, but the preservation of land benefits the community, said Beth Wahl, president of William Floyd Community Summit, a local group.
Wahl said she would have preferred the entire property to be preserved as a park, but the 100-acre donation could be a good site for a community center. "Given the choices, this was the best compromise that we could come up with," she said. "This will give us something."
Links At Shirley -- offering 18 holes of golf and a nine-hole "par three course" -- opened in 2000 to significant fanfare. But an idle economy hammered the golf course industry, and the facility closed two years ago.
The property is adjacent to William Floyd High School, not far from the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.
The single-family homes will likely cost $375,000 to $400,000, with the town houses going for less, said Gerry Monter, chief executive of Holiday Organization.
"Right now, there is a need for one-family houses, but they have to be at a lower price range; and it has to be done right," Monter said.
Lesko said the town looks forward to exploring options for the land.
"The community is in dire need of recreational outlets for our kids," he said.