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Islip officials push for Costco project

A 22-acre parcel is Bay Shore is being

A 22-acre parcel is Bay Shore is being considered for a new Costco store. The Islip Town Board would have to change the zoning from industrial to business before the store could be built. Credit: Tiffany L. Clark

Islip officials hope negotiations to build a Costco store just south of Sunrise Highway in Bay Shore move quickly -- and result in the swift cleanup of the site, which was formerly a landfill.

The town board voted last week to authorize Supervisor Tom Croci to continue discussions with P&M Builders and Conklin Services to "remediate" the contaminated environment and build a Costco on the 22-acre site, which is at Denver Avenue and on the same block as the Islip Animal Shelter.

"From an environmental standpoint, it's a real problem property for us," Islip Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway said of the site, which closed in 1982 after serving as an incinerator, a waste treatment facility and a construction landfill. "Public policy intent here years ago was to try to implement some kind of relationship with the private sector that could help us remediate this site."

Genaway said Costco was interested in building there to capture the market and attract traffic coming from the highway. There are freshwater wetlands on the site, and the town's desire to have the property cleaned is at the core of is goal to build there, he said.

"We have a former landfill with potential environmental problems co-located on a property that's also affected by state freshwater wetlands," he said. "That really magnifies our desire to try to tackle this problem."

A state Department of Environmental Conservation regional spokeswoman said Costco approached the organization in 2009, but that the company has not done soil and water testing at the former Denver Avenue Landfill site to determine whether there is contamination, and how much.

The town board resolution does not impose a deadline for negotiations, and Genaway said the financial details have to be determined. Next, a finalized site plan and traffic mitigation study would have to be presented, he said.

"We try to balance the potential impacts of a project like this with its benefits to the public," Genaway said. "Naturally, the prospects of cleaning up an environmentally problematic property along with mitigating the traffic are key issues to be resolved."

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