Massive mixed-use project moves forward in Islip

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The Islip Town Board Tuesday unanimously approved a state-mandated environmental plan for the $100-million-plus Serota Properties Islip Pines mixed-use development, moving the controversial project forward.

The board's approval of the State Environmental Quality Review, or SEQR, represents a "technical step" in the developer's quest to rezone the 140-acre site at Veterans Memorial and Sunrise highways in Holbrook, said Islip Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway.

"This is not a done deal," Genaway said. "The town's review is not complete."

The Suffolk County Planning Commission will now be tasked with examining the environmental review; the Islip Town Board has to approve the requested zoning change for the project to proceed.

Residents have raised concerns about traffic impacts to nearby roadways, and small-business owners in nearby downtown Sayville say the project could kill their businesses.

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Bram Weber, an attorney for Serota Islip LLC, which owns the site, said the environmental review took into account concerns voiced at a March 2012 public hearing.

Among the key changes to the plan outlined in the environmental review, Weber said, is a 30,000-square-foot reduction in retail space and the addition of green space, roundabouts, and street and deck parking.

"It is not in anyone's interest for there to still be a long road ahead," said Weber, who added he hoped the project would be shovel-ready "as quickly as reasonably possible."

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He added, "Time kills projects. . . . Today was an important first step."

The Islip Pines proposal includes 339,000 square feet of retail space, a 2,500-seat cinema complex, a 200-room hotel, 1.1 million square feet of industrial and office space, 350 residential units and 54 acres of public green space.

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