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Sayville apartment development proposal faces opposition

Mitchell and Gregg Rechler in a model apartment

Mitchell and Gregg Rechler in a model apartment at the Greybarn Amityville, on Dec. 6, 2017. They want to build a similar development in Sayville. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

A Plainview developer is seeking to build a more than $500 million luxury apartment community in Sayville, a proposal drawing ire from nearby residents who say the project would hurt real estate values.

Rechler Equity Partners applied in March for a zoning change, which would require town officials to approve a switch from the current residential district to a planned development district.

Rechler’s proposal — Greybarn Sayville — would be a complex of 1,365 rental apartments, including a yet-to-be-determined portion of affordable housing units, on the site of the former Island Hills Golf Club. It would be similar to the Greybarn Amityville complex that Rechler is building in stages, with nearly 90 units now occupied.

Opponents have raised several concerns, including the visual impact of three- and four-story buildings, traffic congestion and the opinion that renters are not good for the community.

“Basically it’s a mini-city dropped into a residential area,” said Sayville resident Ellen Perz. “That just doesn’t fit in with the fabric of the community. The traffic would be incredible.”

Opponents said they have collected about 2,000 signatures online and on paper urging town officials to reject the rezoning.

Others supported the proposal.

“There’s not any new customers coming into Sayville,” said Eve Moriarty, who owns the Holiday House, a seasonally themed shop on Main Street in Sayville. “Businesses are having a tough time. Why would I be against having new business coming into my town?”

She added that she lives in a development like Greybarn. “It’s very private, it’s very pretty and it’s very well maintained,” Moriarty said.

Cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler said their proposed development is designed to blend with the region’s architectural aesthetic and to attract “unapologetically suburban renters.”

“We based it on historical Long Island architecture, particularly Sayville,” Gregg Rechler said, adding company officials are confident there will be a market for the apartments, with rents starting around $2,300 per month for a one-bedroom unit.

The company’s target is young professionals or retirees looking to downsize their living situation while gaining the amenities the rental facility would offer. Greybarn’s amenities are to include outdoor swimming pools, indoor and outdoor community spaces, and a walkable, campuslike setting.

“These are the next homeowners, who are going to fall in love with Sayville and buy the homes around here,” Gregg Rechler said of the younger renters.

Rechler officials said they are considering ways to address concerns of residents, including a regular shuttle service to downtown Sayville to offset traffic from the development, a walking path around the development that would be open to the public and putting the taller buildings in lower areas to minimize obstructed views.

Opponents have said the adjustments would not be enough to offset the impact of such a large project.

“We don’t have a problem with something that fits into the neighborhood, but Rechler is not looking to do a small project,” Perz said, adding that no apartments would be acceptable.

“My fear is, because I’ve lived in a city for many years, I saw what apartment developments do and how it changes communities,” said Milynn Augulis, of Sayville.

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