Oyster Bay's cautious approval of a senior housing development in Hicksville paves a path for community renewal by removing two asphalt plants whose traffic, stockpiles and soot have frustrated residents for decades.
The Oyster Bay Town Board on Tuesday passed a trio of resolutions that promises to transform the industrial area. The plants ceased operation in November, town Supervisor John Venditto said.
The 15-acre Twin County Recycling Corp. site at 449 W. John St., where a plant began operating in 1982, is to become a 390-unit complex for residents 55 and older.
The nearby 2-acre site at 50 Engel St., where another plant had run since 1979, is being purchased by the town. It could become a park, community center or other facility, to be decided with input from residents.
"This is an important step in a long journey . . . of invigorating and improving this section of Hicksville," Oyster Bay environmental consultant Hal Mayer said Tuesday. He predicted a "positive domino effect on the whole area."
Town board members voted 7-0 to add to the zoning code a new planned-unit housing development, The Crossings at Cantiague Commons, and a residential district. The board also conditionally approved a zone-change application and site plan for developer Cantiague Commons Llc, of Hicksville and voted to buy the Engel Street property for $2.5 million.
"I do think the majority of residents in this town do want us to spend money appropriately . . . to advance the quality of life in this town," Venditto said.
To receive final approval the developer must, among other tasks, secure financing for the residential complex, to consist of market-value town homes. The Twin County plant and concrete-crushing operation also must be removed and the site remediated.
Residents and the town have been fighting to close the plants since the 1980s, with Oyster Bay losing a legal battle in the 1990s to halt operations by denying a permit renewal. Residents have complained about the tall stockpiles of materials, truck traffic pollution and raining soot.
Anthony J. Cincotta, a Woodbury-based attorney representing Cantiague Commons, in a statement thanked town officials and said their votes will "create a residentially zoned community that affords the opportunity to current and future seniors to remain in the community of Hicksville."
The West John Street plant could be leveled by Dec. 31, with construction to begin in eight to 10 months, town commissioner of planning and development Frederick Ippolito said. Town officials did not know when the newly acquired Engel Street plot will be developed, but said they will consult the community in deciding what to built there.
Hicksville civic leader Greg Yatzyshyn on Tuesday urged the town to "keep your finger on the pulse" of the project, cautioning new zoning district restrictions may be too vague.