A Yonkers-based developer plans to begin construction later this year on a long-delayed housing and retail project at the former Parr Meadows racetrack site in Yaphank.
A legal challenge brought by an environmental group had stalled the $231 million Meadows at Yaphank project after the Brookhaven Town Board approved zoning changes three years ago.
The Open Space Council, which had sued to block the project because of environmental concerns, and developer Rose-Breslin Associates reached a settlement, clearing the way for construction to begin this fall, said Brian Ferruggiari, a spokesman for the developer.
Rose-Breslin plans to build a 220-room hotel, 850 housing units and 327,000 square feet of retail space on 322 acres at the northwest corner of the Long Island Expressway and William Floyd Parkway. Part of the parcel had been the site of the short-lived Parr Meadows horse racing track in the 1980s. Construction may take up to 10 years.
Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, in a statement released Monday by the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, said the project "has the potential to provide a much-needed economic jolt for the town and surrounding area."
The project is expected to create 811 construction jobs and 2,681 permanent full-time jobs, and add more than $351 million to the local economy, said the IDA, which is considering granting the project exemptions from mortgage and sales taxes.
"It's the type of development that we want to see moving forward in Brookhaven," said Councilwoman Connie Kepert, who represents the area.
The Long Island-based Open Space Council had sued last year the town and Rose-Breslin to block the project, arguing that the Meadows threatened wildlife and water quality.
Council vice president Karen Blumer said she remained worried about the project's size, but the group agreed to a settlement in which Rose-Breslin contributed a "fairly large sum of money" to a trust fund run by the council for preservation efforts along the nearby Carmans River. She said the firm also agreed to establish a 7-acre buffer zone around part of the project in which undeveloped land would "heal itself" following completion of the project.
Construction on the project's first phase, a 240-unit apartment complex, will begin in the fall and take up to two years to complete, Ferruggiari said.