Plan for new buildings at NYIT campus draws concerns

A rendering showing NYIT's plan to build seven A rendering showing NYIT's plan to build seven new buildings. Photo Credit: Fletcher Thompson Architecture

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A plan to erect seven buildings on the New York Institute of Technology's Old Westbury campus has drawn concern from officials and residents in neighboring communities about traffic and noise.

Included in the school's plans are four, four-story residence halls with 699 beds. The entire project would be built on a 23-acre site, according to a draft environmental impact statement. NYIT does not have student dormitories and rents more than 400 beds for its students on the nearby SUNY Old Westbury campus, according to the statement.

Also planned is a three-story campus commons building for a dining hall, and a two-story executive office building. A new academic building described in the school's proposals as one of the seven is not for the "near future," university officials said.

The school's plans were criticized by Michael Zarin, the attorney representing the villages of Brookville and Old Brookville. He said at a public hearing Tuesday night at Old Westbury Village Hall that residents near the campus are concerned about noise and the impact the project will have on traffic and water use.

"They're trying to build a whole new campus environment," Zarin said. "They don't make a very serious attempt to measure the impact of that."

The campus sits on roughly 175 acres in the village of Old Westbury and 90 acres in the village of Brookville. To move ahead, the college must receive an amended special use permit from Old Westbury, along with other village permits and approvals from other municipalities, such as New York State, Nassau County and Brookville.

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NYIT officials have said they don't expect enrollment, traffic or water usage to increase after the new construction. Water usage will be mitigated through measures such as low-flow fixtures, officials said.

"We must recruit from a wider geographic area because the college age population on Long Island has been and is projected to continue to decline," wrote Niyazi Bodur, vice president for Information Technology and Infrastructure, in an emailed statement. "In addition, NYIT is the only major private university on Long Island without student residences."

With the new dorms, the university expects to end shuttle bus service to and from SUNY Old Westbury.

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Peter MacKinnon, attorney for the Dupont Court Homeowners Association, comprised of seven homes near the campus' border, urged NYIT to consider moving the project area further south and away from the association's members.

He said the school "should go and propose a project that is going to be compatible with the community . . . Why do we have to have a four-story building in a residential area?"

Zarin said he believes the communities around the school appreciate the project's vision.

"No one is against the goal and the vision to create a more dynamic campus life and experience," he said. "It's a significant project for this type of residential area."

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