Residents challenge Islip, Brentwood proposals

Residents of Islip hamlet and Brentwood turned out Residents of Islip hamlet and Brentwood turned out at an Islip Town planning board meeting Thursday, July 25, 2013, to challenge proposals to build more than 300 apartments in the two communities. The Knoll Farm in Brentwood would be the site of 234 apartments. The property was sold last year. Photo Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz, 2012

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Traffic, transients and stresses on local schools were among concerns that drew hundreds of residents to town hall for a planning board meeting on apartment developments proposed for Islip hamlet and Brentwood.

The turnout Thursday was so large the fire marshal divided the crowd by issue, with part of the group waiting outside the meeting room until their agenda item was called.

The vast majority of the attendees protested proposals to build 96 apartments and a ministorage warehouse on Spur Drive South and Winganhauppauge Road in Islip, as well as a project to build 234 apartments and retail at Knoll Farm near the Brentwood train station.

For both projects, opponents said they were worried about traffic, transients in rental properties, the types of neighbors affordable housing might draw, stresses on local schools -- and the fundamental nature of more development.

"There is no bonus to my neighbors and I," said Cheryl Goveia, who lives near the site of the proposed Islip apartment complex. "We've worked hard and invested in this community, and there's nothing in this project that does anything for our community."

Resident Peter Krausch said the apartment complex's rental nature and mix of affordable and market housing would bring dangerous elements to Islip. "Crime-wise, various different shenanigans and hooligans are making their way into the Town of Islip," he said, suggesting that developer Mark Sagliocca build condos instead. "Give people a stake in something, and they definitely participate in the outcome," he said.

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The board voted to reserve decision on the Islip proposal, pending traffic safety studies and an environmental review.

Dozens waited hours to speak on the town's downtown Brentwood comprehensive plan and a separate $30 million proposal to build 234 garden apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space at the Knoll Farm on Suffolk and Eastern avenues near the train station. Representatives of the apartment developer, BK at Brentwood, said the project would be a transit-oriented development that would revitalize downtown.

Nicholas Dalvano, a representative from Long Island Builders Institute, spoke in favor of the project. "It brings blue-collar jobs to Long Island. It brings work," he said outside the hearing room during the meeting.

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Resident Pat Klosowicz told the board the development was "putting the cart before the horse" and said Brentwood lacks the job market to lure people. "You want those upscale garden apartments, you've got to attract the young professionals," she said.

The hearings on both Brentwood items were recessed and are expected to resume at a future meeting. The board's next meeting is Aug. 8.

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