A trash-riddled wooded parcel that neighbors say is a haven for the homeless has been chosen as one of six Brentwood sites to be developed with affordable, one-family, detached houses.
The overgrown 2.6-acre lot at the corner of Adams Avenue and Fletcher Place abuts busy Suffolk Avenue to the south and a quiet residential neighborhood to the north. Earlier this week the site was home to a tent, a mattress and trails of refuse, tattered clothing, liquor bottles and ashes, apparently where a fire pit once had been.
Suffolk County, which took control of the plots for back taxes, donated the parcels to Islip Town's Community Development Agency, which then deeded them to the Long Island Housing Partnership, town officials said. The CDA has provided financing for the development through the housing partnership and Federal Home program.
Nearby homeowner Jimmy Quiles, 44, a retired mechanic who has lived in his Adams Avenue house for 21 years, said he's seen up to a dozen people living in the woods at times.
"All the neighborhood here works together to try and keep it clean, but I think it's great they'll clean it out. I think it'll be an awesome improvement," he said.
First-time home buyers can submit applications until Aug. 21, with income limits determined by the federal Housing and Urban Development Department. Construction by JJR Associates Inc. of Setauket is set to begin in the fall and take about four months, with move-in dates expected early next year.
Four homes are to be built on Fletcher Place, on a newly constructed cul-de-sac. The current dead-end street is to be widened, an Islip Town official said. The homes at the other five sites will be street-facing: three on Grant Avenue, and one each on Hamilton Avenue, Park Avenue, McNair Street and Hyde Park Avenue.
Local officials gathered at the site on Friday to announce the program. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said affordable housing is "a critical element of our economic prosperity" on Long Island.
Danny Ramos, 36, who has lived on Adams Avenue with his family nearly his entire life, said he is optimistic about the project and the improvements it could bring.
"The construction will definitely make our street nicer," he said. "What makes the neighborhood is the people. It'll be up to the new neighbors to help keep it that way."
While residents have faith the new homes will keep vagrants away, other concerns are brewing. Roberto Bonito, 68, a retired ramp service worker for American Airlines who has lived on Adams Avenue for nearly four decades, worried about new owners illegally renting to multiple families -- a problem that the stretch of single-family homes has seen over the years.
"This neighborhood is notoriously known for people buying a home and renting it out," Bonito said. "I'd hate to see someone come in and take advantage of a beautiful home, then a year later it's awful."