Developer Engel Burman is seeking a special-use permit to build an assisted-living facility in Bethpage on the parking lot of a Stewart Avenue office building.
The 152-unit facility would operate under the Jericho-based company’s Bristal name and reserve 40 units for residents with Alzheimer’s or other memory-related disorders. The facility requires a special-use permit because the land is zoned for general business, though single-family homes line the other side of the street. The three-story building would sit on a 3.91 acre lot and include 145 parking spaces and landscaping.
Engel Burman’s attorney, Nicholas Cappadora of Uniondale-based Sahn Ward Coschignano PLLC, told the town board during an Oct. 6 hearing that the project would provide a needed service for Bethpage’s aging adult population without the kinds of negative impacts that other commercial developments could bring.
"An assisted living community will generate less traffic and noise compared to the other principal permitted uses in the General Business Zone, which include things like offices, retail, restaurants or even motor vehicle dealerships," Cappadora said at the hearing. "Furthermore, assisted living community will grow the tax base in the community without adding any school-aged children and have very low impact on municipal resource."
Councilman Louis Imbroto asked the developer’s architect, David Mammina of Melville-based H2M Architects and Engineers, whether the facility would generate traffic from ambulances being called in.
"This is not a hospital, so we don't have a lot of ambulance traffic that goes in and out of there," Mammina said.
The facility would be at 1055 Stewart Ave., which was once used as part of Briarcliffe College and before that was a Grumman building, according to the applicant.
Mammina said the facility would serve healthy seniors and that if a resident was assessed as needing a different type of care he or she would be moved to a different facility.
Mammina said the facility was designed with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.
"We’ve taken the various parts of the facility, and we’ve broken them down into four separate areas so that every area has a dining area that would sit 10 people, so it’s a very small group," Mammina said. "It’s easy to keep them separated."
The heating and ventilation system was designed to include a process called ionization to remove the virus from the air, the architect said.
"We’re also going to be increasing the amount of fresh air that comes into every one of the units," he said.
Another addition is a third elevator in the planned building that in the past would have only had two.
"We have a third elevator so that we can move people more quickly through the building in that way and keep them separated," Mammina said.
Councilman Thomas Hand asked what protocols would be put in place to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Steven Krieger, principal at Engel Burman, said that currently the Bristal facilities test residents and staff once a week.
"As far as someone coming down with COVID in the building, that resident would be hospitalized, would not be admitted to the building until they had two negative COVID tests," Krieger said.
The town board adjourned the hearing and reserved its decision on the special-use permit for an unspecified date in the future.
THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
Monthly rent at the proposed Bristal assisted-living facility in Bethpage will start in the “high $5,000s” range. For that price, services will include three meals per day, snacks, recreation, transportation, housekeeping and laundry.
SOURCE: Engel Burman