The Islip Town Board is expected to vote next month on a proposed zoning change that would open a state-owned warehouse in Central Islip to use as a private food processing and distribution center.
The town planning board voted last week to recommend that the mostly vacant warehouse at Eastview and Courthouse drives be changed from a municipal to a research/industrial use so that it can be sold to Whitsons Culinary Group.
Islip Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway said that if the town board approves the change at its March 5 meeting, the Islandia-based firm would buy the 136,000- square-foot structure.
The state has been trying to sell the complex for years, Genaway said. But in fall 2011, the planning board rejected a proposal for Inter-County Bakers Inc. to buy and run the property as an all-night bakery, Genaway said.
"The applicant at that point would not agree to some of the hours or limitations on the property," Genaway said. "They were a commercial bakery, and they literally needed to be operating full-steam in the middle of the night because all of Long Island's retail bakeries needed their baked goods, so they had to be on the road at 2 or 3 a.m."
This application, too, has been contentious among residents of the nearby Courthouse Commons condominiums, Genaway said. But Whitsons officials have agreed to restrictions on the property, including its hours of operation, using the north side for late and early loading and not allowing trucks to idle for more than five minutes at a time.
"We're trying to protect those Courthouse Commons residents as much as we can," Genaway said.
Whitsons officials could not be reached for comment.