One of the areas to be studied is the Montauk...

One of the areas to be studied is the Montauk Highway corridor in Bayport. Credit: James Carbone

Islip Town officials are studying how to potentially create a downtown in Bayport.

Officials said they are examining three distinct sections of the South Shore hamlet to identify areas where they can grow and redevelop through future zoning and planning policies.

The study would identify ways to make the Montauk Highway corridor — currently a mile-long stretch of gas stations, banks and commercial buildings — the hamlet’s center with a Main Street vibe, town officials said.

It would also study an industrial section of Rajon Road, where a bakery will soon vacate the site, and a small commercial center on Middle Road.

Residents have been seeking a master plan and hamlet study for at least a decade, Bayport Civic Association president Bob Draffin said. The push came after a developer proposed bringing another gas station to Montauk Highway, where there are already four. A master plan would prevent development that does not fit with the character of the community, he said.

“We’d like to stand out and not just be a drag strip to get gas between Sayville and Patchogue,” Draffin said.

Officials announced a study would be conducted in September after Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen, who lives in Bayport, said she secured funding for it.

The town board awarded in December a contract to BFJ Planning, a Manhattan planning firm, for $83,000, planning commissioner Ron Meyer said.

Middle Road, where businesses are run out of converted century-old houses, was the original downtown in Bayport until the U.S. Post Office moved from there to Montauk Highway around 1980, residents said.

“Montauk Highway, when that developed, that killed the downtown area over here,” said Frank Giebfried, a board member of the Bayport-Blue Point Heritage Association.

Mullen said she would like to see Montauk Highway become more pedestrian-friendly, especially because many students have to walk home from schools with limited busing.

A lack of pedestrian-friendly places means there are few places to hold community festivals and lure visitors to the area, said Karl Auwaerter, of the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce. He added that sewers would allow for more development on Montauk Highway, especially to bring in restaurants.

"That's why Patchogue is so popular," said Auwaerter, owner of Bayport Flower Houses.

Resident Dawn Stephens said the Middle Road portion is a “happy medium between not too quiet and not too busy.” The stay-at-home mom said she would like the study to bring in different types of businesses and mom-and-pop shops, especially a small market.

“There seems to be a lot of nail salons and hair salons on one tiny section, and something different would be helpful,” Stephens, 54, said of an area of converted houses.

The study will also examine potential impacts or constraints, including on parking, traffic, infrastructure and community facilities and services, officials said. 

Officials will seek public input on the study from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 30 at the Bayport Fire House.

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