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.

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."

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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