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Edward Romaine seeks reconsideration of Gyrodyne development

A hotel, assisted living and medical offices are

A hotel, assisted living and medical offices are among the uses proposed for a 62.3-acre property in St. James. Photo Credit: Suffolk County Planning Commission

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine and Three Village civic leaders pressed the Suffolk County Planning Commission Wednesday to reconsider approval of a Smithtown subdivision that could include a hotel and assisted living facilities until traffic studies and a master plan are done.

Romaine said he opposed subdivision of the 62.3-acre Gyrodyne property off Route 25A because county planners called for providing access along a private railroad right of way onto Stony Brook Road. The two-lane residential street already is snarled with traffic from Stony Brook University, he said.

“I’m strongly opposed to adding any traffic on Stony Brook Road,” Romaine said. “This will add a lot of traffic on a road that doesn’t need any more . . . It’s not the right way to go.”

Cindy Smith, head of Greater Stony Brook Action Coalition, said Stony Brook Road is a historic road originally built for horse traffic, but now carries more than 100,000 cars daily.

“At peak times, traffic is at a standstill,” Smith said. “As it is, emergency vehicles are often stuck in traffic, endangering lives.”

Valerie Smith, an assistant Suffolk County attorney, said there is no procedure for the commission to reverse its Aug. 2 decision. While several members of the commission sought to make a traffic study a condition of approval, they were outvoted and it was left only as a recommendation.

County planning staff said the uses sought in the subdivision application already are allowed under existing zoning.

But they said as conceptual plans become more specific, developers will have to obtain site plan approvals for each of the eight lots in the project, and the commission could direct that traffic studies be done.

They also said the Smithtown planning board has yet to schedule public hearings on the proposal and could also order an environmental impact study that would include a review of traffic impacts.

Romaine said a master plan for traffic is needed because Stony Brook University has grown to a campus of more than 25,000 students — but the main artery to the campus, four-lane Nicolls Road, has not been expanded in 60 years.

George Hoffman, co-chair of the citizens advisory committee for the Route 25A corridor, which is about to complete a two-year study, said the commission’s action “makes no sense” because the project’s impact goes beyond the border of a single town.

“This is a Smithtown project, but Brookhaven is directly affected,” Hoffman said. “You failed in your job to do regional planning.”

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