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Residents worry about traffic, density from proposed housing at former hospital site

A proposed $120 million project by AvalonBay Communities

A proposed $120 million project by AvalonBay Communities at the former site of Brunswick Hospital in Amityville includes 317 apartments and 21 townhouses on 7.7 acres. Photo Credit: KTGY Architecture + Planning

A proposal to build 338 housing units on the former Brunswick Hospital property in Amityville got mixed reviews at two public hearings Monday, as village officials consider creating a new zoning district for the development.

AvalonBay Communities proposes to build 317 apartments and 21 townhouses on 7.7 acres at 366 Broadway. The hospital closed in 2005 and the last building was demolished in 2012.

Amityville Village is considering creating a planned residential district zone that allows for much greater density for the $120 million project, something Mayor Dennis Siry said was “definitely a positive thing for revitalizing the downtown.”

“We have had a lot of people start to come to invest in different stores in downtown, knowing that this is going to be something that can help them out,” he said.

During the public hearings, several residents spoke in favor of developing the vacant, fenced-in parcel.

A few residents from the neighboring Newpointe Estates on Louden Avenue supported the project. One was unconcerned with possible traffic, and another asked village officials to adjust traffic lights to allow traffic to move more freely. Another resident opposed the proposal because of the anticipated traffic it will bring.

The hospital had 477 beds, as compared with the 338 units this project would create, AvalonBay lawyer Joseph Buzzell noted.

“Brunswick Hospital generated a tremendous amount of traffic,” he said.

Resident Rosemary McMurray opposed the development. “We are being overbuilt,” she said. “Once you lose this property . . . it’s done.”

Peter Casserly, a former trustee and town planning commissioner who is on the downtown revitalization committee, supported the project.

“This property has been fallow for too long and off the tax rolls,” he said. “I think it’s a good fit for Amityville.”

The three-story residential buildings would surround a parking garage, hidden from view, Buzzell said.

The development would contain a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The 21 townhouses would have their own two-car garages; the parking garage would have 274 spots and 159 parking spots outside that, for a total of 475 spaces.

AvalonBay, which has complexes in 10 states, with 10 on Long Island, plans to buy the property from BH Realty Group LLC of Amityville and is seeking an unspecified tax break from the Babylon Industrial Development Agency.

Rich Groh, chief environmental analyst for Babylon Town, is heading up the environmental assessment underway on the property, and LK McLean Associates PC is studying the development’s impact on traffic.

Christopher Capece, AvalonBay’s vice president of development, pitched the project — a quarter-mile from the train station — as a way to revitalize the downtown and make it the northern gateway to the village.

“We think that . . .we have the ability to create something special here,” Capece said.

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