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Islip Town Board to consider change of zone request for scrap metal facility in Brentwood

A change of zone request for a controversial

A change of zone request for a controversial scrap-metal processing facility on this lot at 80 Emjay Blvd. in Brentwood was disapproved by the Suffolk County Planning Commission. This is the property on March 17, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

A change of zone request for a controversial scrap-metal processing facility in Brentwood -- expected to be taken up again Thursday night by the Islip Town Board -- was "disapproved" by the Suffolk County Planning Commission.

Amy Burbott, owner of Kings & Queens Transload LLC, of Brentwood, has requested a change of zone from Industrial 1 to Industrial 2 and a special permit from Islip Town that would allow that type of facility.

Burbott said Wednesday she had not seen the report and declined to comment. Her proposal would transform a 3.61-acre vacant lot into a facility where as many as 100 trucks would operate six days a week -- from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

The trucks would carry as much as 350 tons of metal through residential streets to the property on Emjay Boulevard, an industrial corridor abutting a residential neighborhood. Outgoing materials would be shipped by rail.

In its decision, the county commission cited Islip Town Zoning Law for Industrial 2 special permits, stating scrap-metal processing facilities are allowed by special permit as long as they are not within 500 feet of any residential use or zone.

"It does not appear that the petition can meet the above special permit standard as the southeast corner of the subject property is approximately 350 feet from the residential zone to the east."

The Suffolk planning commission wrote that a change of zone would be "inconsistent" with the zoning pattern in the area, likening it to "spot zoning," and that it "constitutes an unwarranted, non-comprehensive alteration of zoning patterns in this community . . . and would tend to establish a precedent for further such down zonings in the district."

The commission also wrote that it could not substantiate a comparative traffic analysis without a prepared traffic study. Burbott has said the new site would generate 40 percent less truck traffic than the property's former use, Emjay Environmental Recycling LLC, a solid-waste transfer station. That facility was closed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in April 2014 after a series of fires, the last in 2013, which destroyed it.

"We feel that we've always been dumped on," said Maxima Castro, co-founder of a local neighborhood watch, which has led an effort to oppose the project. "We feel that we don't have a voice. We don't want something else that will cause harm to our community."

Residents are still awaiting the removal of an estimated 50,000 tons of contaminated debris illegally dumped in Roberto Clemente Park, Brentwood's largest town-owned park.

The Islip Town Planning Board unanimously recommended the change of zone and special permit at a meeting on March 19. The town board held a public hearing on the application March 26, lasting two hours, where more than a dozen residents and elected officials spoke against and in favor of the project, with some saying truck traffic would decrease the quality of life and increase health hazards, and others pleading for the potential jobs and tax revenue.

The board tabled the vote that night, pending the Suffolk County Planning Commission's decision, which was voted on and passed May 6.

The Islip Town Board is expected to take up this application at Thursday night's change of zone meeting at 7:30 at Town Hall.

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