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Babylon sends 98-unit apartment developer back to the drawing board

Babylon Town hall in Lindenhurst, July 9, 2017.

Babylon Town hall in Lindenhurst, July 9, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

Babylon Town officials asked a developer to go back to the drawing board on a proposed 98-unit apartment complex after hearing concerns from dozens of North Amityville residents.

The residents attended Wednesday’s town board public hearing on a proposed zoning change for the complex targeted for six acres between Harrison Avenue and Steele Place.

Bunt Development Corp. of Manhasset sought to build the complex of one-bedroom apartments plus a caretaker’s building with an apartment, office space and storage. The complex was proposed as 13 two-floor buildings with apartments of 1,100 square feet.

The complex requires a zoning change, from single-family homes to multiple residence. Dozens of neighboring residents at the hearing raised questions and concerns about traffic and density. The apartments would exacerbate safety issues in an already congested area with narrow streets and a high number of children, speakers said.

“It’s crazy. You’re talking about putting an extra 200 people in the middle of a neighborhood,” said Naomi Johnson. “If you want to do something, put some single family houses there. There’s enough apartment complexes.”

Resident Delores Quintyne, who is also a Town Zoning Board of Appeals member, presented a list of more than a dozen apartment, condominium, townhouse and other multi-residential developments in the community.

“We feel overwhelmed,” she told the board, asking for a moratorium on such development applications.

After the comment period, Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer announced that the board would not vote on the zoning change “anytime soon.”

“You have a piece of property and a right to make a proposal to develop the property, but clearly there are a number of people who are concerned,” Schaffer told Bunt owner Kadandale Shetty and his attorney Steve Kretz. “You’ve creatively figured out how to to slam in as many buildings as you could ... I think you have a lot of work to do.”

Schaffer recommended the application be withdrawn and the developer “go back to the community and work on this.”

Kretz said after the hearing Bunt “really tried to do what we thought was best” and thought the project would “enhance” the community.

“But the people have spoken,” he said. “We’ll at least quiet it down and go back to the drawing board and see what, if anything, we can do to respond to the residents’ concerns.”

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