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Apartments approved in West Babylon

Handing victory to a real estate developer -- over objections from neighbors -- Babylon Town's zoning board of appeals has narrowly approved a proposal to build apartments on a tiny swath of road in West Babylon.

After years of dueling petitions, experts hired to testify for and residents bused in to rail against, the board voted 4-3 on April 19 to approve plans for four apartment buildings at 49 Muncie Rd., where a two-story brick Colonial home stands.

"Taxpayers have lost again to another greedy developer thanks to the Town of Babylon," said Madeline Sheldon, who lives on the street that runs 1,600 feet between Montauk Highway and the Bergen Point County Golf Course.

"I just can't believe they're going to do this thing," said Mike Honahan, who lives next to the property.

They and other neighbors argued that Lindenhurst-based Dellafranca Development's plans for 24 one-bedroom apartments would add congestion, burden town services and mar the character of a once-quiet neighborhood near the Great South Bay. The neighborhood has three apartment complexes, including the 330-unit Harbor Club.

ZBA approval was needed because the lot slated for development is undersized. Town officials supported the plan, and Dellafranca attorney Nicole Blanda said company architects had worked closely with them on its development.

In a December letter to residents, planning Commissioner Ann Marie Jones described the project as "not only acceptable, but superior. . . . Balancing the concerns of the community with managing growth and change is a challenging one."

ZBA chairman Michael Kane, along with John Miller, Mary Porter and Denise Kretz voted for approval. John Farrell, Tom Weinschenk & Burt Koza voted against.

Construction could begin in late spring or early summer, Blanda said.

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