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Public's turn to weigh in on Fort Salonga housing proposal

A 98-unit senior housing development is proposed at

A 98-unit senior housing development is proposed at Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga. Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

A long-delayed senior housing development at the Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga has entered the public comment period.

The proposed Preserve at Indian Hills, a 98-unit town house development for residents 55 and older, will be the subject of a public hearing at the Huntington Town Planning Board meeting on Wednesday.

The town's Department of Planning and Environment accepted the draft environmental impact statement commissioned by the developer for the project in July and will take comments on the statement through Oct. 18.

The application has changed multiple times since the development was first announced in 2016, notably in its layout and number of units.

"We're happy with the final layout," said Jim Tsunis, managing member of Hauppauge-based Northwind Group, which is the developer behind the application. "It's been changed several times over the last three years and we believe that this is the best layout for the community." Tsunis is asking the town for site plan approval under the current zoning.

The current version of the application calls for duplex town houses in 49 two-story buildings in a clustered subdivision with a clubhouse/fitness center on an existing golf course and several adjoining properties totaling 154.56 acres. The buildings are generally located in three areas of the site where there is existing road access and clustered to preserve open space as required by state and town law.

John Hayes, the president of the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association, which is opposed to the development mostly because of concerns about its environmental impact on the community, said he plans to register his objections to the plan at the hearing. 

"Building 98 homes in this area is just not responsible from an environmental point of view," Hayes said, pointing to the proximity of the Crab Meadow wetlands, Fresh Pond and the Long Island Sound. Hayes added that he thinks the developers are underestimating the strain on local resources.

Tsunis said the development will use efficient septic systems to reduce the nitrogen load in wastewater, and that the proposed development is well within zoning requirements.

"We're not building on any of the wetlands," he said. "This is an application that is permitted within the current zone and we are requesting no variances," he added.

The Huntington Town planning director said generally speaking, the town has a need for more senior housing.

"The town over time has experienced certainly a demand for senior housing. Every time a project is completed it fills up rather quickly," said Tony Aloisio, director of the town's Department of Planning and Environment. "At this time there is still a demand for this kind of housing."

The first version of the DEIS was submitted to the town in April, but the Planning Department requested more information, including missing components such as an executive summary.

The draft environmental impact statement and more information can be found at huntingtonny.gov/indian-hills-deis-july2019.

The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at town hall, 100 Main St. in Huntington. Comments can also be emailed to planning@huntingtonny.gov or mailed to: Huntington Town Hall, Department of Planning & Environment (Room 212), Attn: The Preserve at Indian Hills DEIS, 100 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743.

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