Doris Davidson remembers riding her bike to the Knoll Farm in Brentwood as a teenager, and a time when the historic horse farm hosted weekend shows, and local residents would camp out in the grass around the outdoor arena to watch the riders.
Like Davidson, who is captain of the Northeast Neighborhood Committee in Brentwood, many residents whose homes surround the farm don't want to see it developed.
Earlier this month, they met with a representative from Garden City-based developer, the Engel Burman Group, which is in negotiations to buy the property, to find out what to expect when the farm is sold and developed.
"We needed to know if it was a done deal, and it is a done deal," Davidson said. "We just have to grin and bear it."
Engel Burman plans 240 one- and two-bedroom rental units -- with rents from about $1,400 to $1,700 -- on the 17-acre farm property along Suffolk Avenue. Steven Krieger, a principal with the developer, came to the Brentwood meeting to hear what residents want to see there.
"I thought the concerns of the neighborhood were they didn't want to see three-bedroom units on the site, and we've agreed," Krieger said, though the original plan called for some three-bedroom units. "We're happy to oblige them."
Residents were concerned that three-bedroom units would invite multiple families to live in each unit, causing more traffic, parking issues and congestion.
The original site plan also called for part of the development to be designated as affordable housing, a plan that has been scrapped. Instead, Engel Burman has agreed to contribute an undetermined amount of money to the Town of Islip's Community Development Agency, so the town can buy, rehabilitate and sell blighted, foreclosed homes in the area.
Krieger said the developer also plans to build a sewage treatment plant at the site, which he said will have enough capacity to tie into Brentwood's downtown revitalization plan.
"I think we were very well received by the community, and I thought it was a very productive meeting," Krieger said.
The project is expected to cost about $30 million, and Islip Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway said it's still "in the beginning stages of the planning process -- suffice it to say, a great deal of public input would be encouraged as part of this planning process."