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Islip Town Hall protesters oppose golf course development in Sayville

More than 100 demonstrators converged outside Islip Town

More than 100 demonstrators converged outside Islip Town Hall to protest community developments, including a proposed luxury apartment complex, on Tuesday. Credit: Barry Sloan

More than 100 protesters descended on Islip Town Hall Tuesday night to object to community developments, including a proposed $500 million luxury apartment complex on the site of the former Island Hills Golf Course in Sayville.

The protest drew honks from cars along Main Street. Signs included “Stop the zoning change.”

“I want to save my town,” said Mary Novotny of Sayville. “They’re planning on putting a little city — 1,300 apartments — in this small little area. Sayville is a beautiful community but it seems pretty full.”

Plainview developer Rechler Equity Partners has proposed a 1,365-unit luxury apartment complex that has many residents of Sayville, Bohemia and surrounding communities concerned about the visual impact of three- and four-story buildings, traffic congestion, as well as potential environmental effects on water and air quality.

Opponents say an apartment complex on that scale would fundamentally alter the nature of the residential community.

Lorraine Zemba of Sayville said the proposal was “devastating.” She lives across the street from the golf course and said she dreaded the prospect of looking at parking lots and a tall buildings.

“I lived in Manhattan for 11-12 years and came to Long Island because I wanted my kids to have what I had,” she said. “I wanted them in a small town where everyone knew everybody.”

Rechler applied in March 2017 for a zoning change that would require town officials to approve a switch from the current residential district to a planned development district.

The Town of Islip is overseeing the proposal as it moves through the environmental review process. If approved, the project, to be called Greybarn Sayville, would include a yet-to-be-determined portion of affordable housing units.

Rechler officials have said they were considering ways to address residents’ concerns, but opponents have said those suggestions didn’t offset the impact of such a large project.

“We live in a single-family home area, we don’t live in a downtown area, and now this person came in and took over the golf course and wants to change it to a whole different way of living,” said Diane Bronson of Sayville. “It’s a problem.”

Protesters also turned out to raise concerns about the Heartland Town Square development, planned for the site of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in Brentwood.

Kim Richards of Sayville said the protests were organized simultaneously “to stop the precedence of the zone change from residential to commercial.”

With Rachelle Blidner

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