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Huntington board moves forward with development of senior housing at Indian Hills

Indian Hills golf club in Fort Salonga in

Indian Hills golf club in Fort Salonga in September 2019. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The Huntington Planning board has taken another step toward approving the development of senior housing on the Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga.

The board last Wednesday accepted the findings of an environmental statement about the project and the next step will be to vote on the preliminary subdivision application.

"The Planning Board has taken extraordinary steps to ensure that, at every step of the way, our community is both informed and has an ability to actively participate in the process," Planning Board Chairman Paul Ehrlich said in an email.

"We have taken the most thorough approach available under the law in studying, reporting and mitigating the potential environmental impacts on the neighborhood as well as the surrounding surface waters and sensitive wetlands," Ehrlich said.

The seven-member board voted 5-0 to accept the environmental findings statement. Member Paul Mandelik recused himself from the vote and Ehrlich did not vote.

But residents says the project would impact the environment and quality of life of the area. The golf club is in close proximity to the Crab Meadow wetlands, Fresh Pond and the Long Island Sound.

The Breeze Hill Road community development would be for 86 units of housing for residents 55 and older. It was first proposed in 2016 as a development with 98 residences with a clubhouse/fitness center. The Hauppauge-based developer of the project, Jim Tsunis, said currently the plan is to build 74 units of housing.

John Hayes, president of the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association, which represents about 300 homes, said important concerns raised by the association were "completely ignored" by the planning board.

He cites the close proximity of the proposed housing to existing neighbors and no acknowledgment of a water quality report by an expert hired by residents that contradicted the applicants report, as well as no answer to the fate of 12 approved units of housing not currently slated to be built.

"They ignored them because they really didn’t have an explanation for them," Hayes said.

Tsunis said he has worked over the years to provide all the data for a complete environmental study.

"We have also taken the proper mitigation measures to make sure we will build an environmentally sound community," Tsunis said.

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